Women's volleyball: Top-ranked Huskers host No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 3 Minnesota
The top-ranked Nebraska volleyball team returns home this week for the “Weekend of Champions” celebration, as the Huskers host No. 4 Wisconsin on Friday at 8 p.m. CT, and No. 3 Minnesota on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT, both on Big Ten Network. The Huskers will honor former players from their 1986 (NCAA finalists), 1996 (NCAA semifinalists) and 2006 (NCAA champions) squads Friday night.
The Huskers, who returned to the No. 1 spot in the AVCA Coaches Poll on Monday, will immediately have their ranking tested against top-five opponents who both won in Lincoln last year. Last October, Minnesota and Wisconsin defeated the Huskers 3-1 in the same weekend, and after that NU won 16 matches in a row to win the NCAA title.
Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin held the top three spots in four straight AVCA polls up until this week. Each team has been ranked No. 1 at some point this season.
About the Huskers
• Nebraska enters the weekend with a 16-1 overall record and 7-1 mark in Big Ten play. The Huskers are ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll, where they spent the first six weeks of the season before coming in at Nos. 3 and 2 in the last two polls.
• The Huskers are second in the Big Ten and third nationally with a .309 hitting percentage.
• NU is second in the Big Ten and seventh in the nation with a .146 opponent hitting percentage.
• The Huskers are third in the Big Ten in kills per set (14.23) and blocks per set (2.83). In conference matches only, Nebraska is leading the Big Ten with 3.00 blocks per set.
• Nebraska’s .885 win percentage under head coach John Cook is the best by any program since Cook took over in the 2000 season.
• The Nebraska volleyball team completed a successful road trip with a 25-16, 25-14, 25-17 sweep at Maryland last Sunday afternoon at the XFINITY Center Pavilion. With their 13th straight road win, the Huskers improved to 16-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten
• Nebraska is 17-3-1 against Wisconsin and is 6-2 in the Big Ten era, though the Badgers have won the last two matches. Wisconsin won 22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-22 on Oct. 24, 2015 in Lincoln. This will be the only meeting between the teams this season.
• Nebraska is 32-6 all-time against Minnesota and 6-2 in the Big Ten era. The Gophers won the only meeting last October 23 in Lincoln, 25-23, 25-22, 24-26, 27-25. The teams will play again in Minneapolis on November 23.
• Wisconsin (15-2, 7-1 Big Ten) is holding opponents to .163 hitting this season, which ranks third in the Big Ten. The Badgers lead the Big Ten in digs per set (14.64) and are fourth in blocks per set (2.74). All-America setter Lauren Carlini ranks third in the Big Ten with 11.03 assists per set, while Tionna Williams is fourth in blocks per set this season at 1.42. Molly Haggerty leads the team in kills with 3.16 per set. Lauryn Gillis adds 2.57 kills per set. Wisconsin’s two losses are at home to Minnesota last weekend and at North Carolina.
• Minnesota (14-3, 6-2 Big Ten entering Friday’s match at Iowa) ranks third in the Big Ten and seventh nationally with a .301 hitting percentage. The Golden Gophers are second in the conference in blocks per set (2.87) and kills per set (14.26). Setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson leads the Big Ten with 11.69 assists per set and ranks sixth in the nation. Sarah Wilhite is the conference leader in kills per set with 4.11, and Molly Lohman is fifth in blocks per set at 1.34. Minnesota’s losses this season are at Stanford, at Penn State and at Michigan State last Saturday.