Nebraska has won five NCAA women's volleyball national championships, including two in the last four years. The Huskers are known as a national college volleyball power with an incredible fan base, no matter the year. They've had some great players make their way through the program in their history.
But who are the best? I took a shot at putting together an all-time starting lineup for the Huskers. It wasn't easy and I'm sure there will be many different opinions on who should and shouldn't make the all-time lineup. I put mine together by focusing on AVCA All-America selection, AVCA national players of the year, national championships, Olympic or professional experience and all-time records at Nebraska.
And from that, this is what I compiled. Here is the all-time starting lineup for Nebraska volleyball:
Mikaela Foecke: Outside hitter, 2015-2018
Foecke is the most recent Husker player that made the list, and rightfully so. She was a two-time AVCA All-American and a two-time national champion during her time at Nebraska. She led the Huskers in 2018 with 3.86 kills and had 2.65 digs per set, along with a team-high 46 service aces. In her two national championship appearances, she earned NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player honors both times. She became the fourth player in NCAA history to earn that award twice. Foecke was a huge part of Nebraska's domination in the past four years, winning two national championships. Leading a team to two titles gives her some major kudos in my book.
Jordan Larson: Outside hitter, 2005-2008
Larson was one of the nation's top outside hitters during her years. She was an all-American in three consecutive seasons and is one of only four Huskers to record more than 1,000 kills and digs in her career. She finished with 1,600 kills, 1,410 digs and a school record 186 service aces. She was Big 12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, where she averaged 3.92 kills and 3.19 digs per set. After her decorated Husker career, Larson played for the U.S National Team and earned a silver medal with the 2012 Olympic volleyball team in London and a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. Playing on the biggest volleyball stage in the world not once, but twice, was a big factor when choosing Larson for the all-time lineup.
EXPLAINER: The college volleyball rotation, explained
Sarah Pavan: Right side hitter, 2004-2007
Pavan was the easiest pick for this all-time lineup. The standout is only one of five players in NCAA history to be named a four-time AVCA first-team All-American. She set numerous records at Nebraska. She is the all-time career kills leader with 2,008, holds the record for single-season kills per set all-time with 5.10 kills and single-season kills in rally scoring with 586. She was also a two-time Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year, after leading the Huskers to four straight Big 12 titles. No one has yet come close to her career kills record, so I'd say she deserves a spot on the all-time lineup.
Melissa Elmer: Middle blocker, 2002-2005
Elmer led the entire nation in blocks in her last two seasons, averaging a Nebraska record of 2.17 blocks per game her senior year. She still holds the all-time record for single season blocks per set and career blocks per set in rally scoring. She was a three-time AVCA All-American in 2003-05, and finished her career as the Big 12's all-time leader with 767 blocks. She was one of only three Big 12 players to tally 1,000 kills and 700 blocks. A main selling point on her was leading the entire nation in blocks for two seasons while also putting up strong offensive numbers. That is difficult to do.
Allison Weston: Middle blocker, 1992-1995
Weston is one of the best volleyball players in NCAA history. She led the Huskers to their first national title in 1995 and earned AVCA co-National Player of the Year that same year. She was Nebraska's first three-time first-team All-American. She’s also second on the all-time career kills record list at Nebraska. Following her career as a Husker, she was the captain of the U.S National team. Weston checks all the boxes here, she was an All-American, national champion, AVCA National Player of the Year, and holds records in Lincoln.
Greichaly Cepero: Setter, 1999-2003
Cepero redefined the setter position with her all-around skills, not just assists. She also earned AVCA Player of the Year honors as a setter in 2000. She became the second setter in Nebraska history to be a three-time AVCA All-American and she earned Big 12 Player of the Year honors in 2000. She was the best blocking setter in Husker history, ending her senior season tied for fourth on the all-time charts with 84 career solo blocks. Cepero never hit less than .300 in her three years as the starting setter. In 2019, she was inducted into the Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame.
Justine Wong-Orantes: Libero, 2013-2016
Wong-Orantes takes the libero position on the all-time Nebraska lineup as the all-time career digs leader at Nebraska with 1,890 digs. She was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons after leading the Huskers backcourt defense with 4.23 digs per set. She set another Nebraska single-match record with 35 digs in a win over Minnesota. She became the fastest Husker in Nebraska history to reach 1,000 career digs (75 matches).
Who's your pick to be in the all-time starting lineup for Nebraska? We'd love to hear from you. Tell us at NCAASupport@turner.com.