The Nebraska volleyball team is ranked second in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released on Wednesday. The Huskers received 20 of the 63 first-place votes and totaled 1,525 points. Stanford, which received 43 first-place votes, took the No. 1 ranking with 1,575 points. Texas (1,389), Minnesota (1,342) and Kentucky (1,260) rounded out the top five. Other Big Ten teams in the top 10 included No. 6 Penn State and No. 9 Wisconsin. The defending NCAA and Big Ten champion Huskers return three starters from last year's team, while eight of the 15 Huskers are newcomers. Nebraska will be replacing significant contributors in first-team All-America setter Kelly Hunter, second-team All-America outside hitter Annika Albrecht, honorable-mention recipient Briana Holman at middle blocker and defensive specialist Sydney Townsend. Senior captains Mikaela Foecke - who was the NCAA Championship co-most outstanding player and an AVCA second-team All-American - as well as libero Kenzie Maloney, who was an NCAA Championship All-Tournament selection, will guide the Huskers into the 2018 season. All-Big Ten Freshman Team selections Lauren Stivrins and Jazz Sweet are also key returnees in the Husker lineup. Among the Huskers' eight newcomers, five are true freshmen. Senior Brooke Smith, who won an NCAA Championship with the Huskers in 2015 and a Big Ten title in 2016, returned to the program for her final season after playing her junior year at Kansas State. Sophomore Lexi Sun transfered from Texas after earning first-team All-Big 12 honors at Texas last season. Junior setter Mari Kurkova recently joined the program from Opava, Czech Republic. The Huskers begin the season with the Red/White Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. A very limited number of tickets remain and can be purchased online here, as the Huskers look to sell out the preseason scrimmage for the first time.
Lincoln, Neb. -- The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours on Wednesday outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields in full pads and helmets for the first time since the spring. Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters addressed the media after practice, commenting on the energy of the first practice in full pads. “Guys stepped on that field ready to go,” Walters said. “Anytime you put full pads on there’s that extra juice. There was a part of it where we made it live for two or three plays. Guys got after it, so it was good to see that when we throw the pads on, we don’t take a step back, and that is very encouraging.” Coach Walters mentioned the status of junior running back Tre Bryant after his 2017 season was cut short due to a knee injury. “He’s (Tre Bryant) full go,” Walters said. “We’re going to be smart with his reps and make sure he’s ready to go September 1st, but he looks good. He’s making all the cuts. You can tell he’s been in the play book over the summer and even the spring. He knows what to do. He’s worked his tail off to get back on that field, and he’s going to be an added bonus to our offense.” Coach Walters mentioned how the offense works with the defense as they continue to improve as a team. “It’s been awesome,” Walters said. “Competition-wise, we’re deeper than we were in the spring across the board. That shows up in practice, receivers versus DBs were getting after it. They’re making us better, we’re making them better. The older guys have embraced the younger guys. We’re a family, and we understand that we need everybody in order to be successful, so the older guys are taking the younger guys under their wing. As we get going, sometimes the younger guys kind of take a back seat and just try to find out, learn the process, learn the standards, and so as we get going those younger guys are going to get just as many reps, and we’re going to count on those guys this year.” Coach Walters talked about the status of the quarterbacks. “Across the board, guys did what they needed to do this summer,” Walters said. “They were in their play books. They were in the offense. We didn’t take a step back when we took the field last week, and that’s encouraging. Those guys are getting equal reps, and they’re competing and they’re doing a good job.” The Huskers return to the practice field on Friday morning. Nebraska kicks off its season on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Akron at Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. CT.
An extremely limited quantity of Nebraska volleyball single-game tickets will go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. through Nebraska Athletic Development and Ticketing. Tickets can be purchased online here, though they are expected to be sold quickly. Nebraska has sold out 234 consecutive regular-season volleyball matches, an NCAA women's record. Fewer than 200 tickets remain for the Red/White Scrimmage at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18. Those can also be purchased at the link above. Fans who attend the Red/White Scrimmage will get a sneak peek at the 2017 NCAA Championship documentary, "Nebraska Volleyball: Culture of a Champion," produced by NET, Nebraska's PBS & NPR Stations. It will be played on the Devaney Center video boards after the scrimmage. The Huskers are coming off a second NCAA Championship in three years and a repeat Big Ten title in 2017. Nebraska opens the regular season by hosting the VERT Challenge on Aug. 24-25. NU will face Florida in a national title rematch, as well as Oregon on opening weekend.
Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook announced the addition of three student-athletes to the Husker volleyball program for the 2018 season on Friday. Former Husker setter Brooke Smith will return to the Husker program for her senior season, while junior setter Mari Kurkova and freshman defensive specialist/libero Chen Abramovich will also join the defending NCAA and Big Ten champion Huskers. Smith was a back-up setter as a freshman for the Huskers in 2015 during NU’s national title run, and she was a serving specialist in 2016, producing nine aces in 18 matches played in her two seasons at Nebraska. The 5-10 Weatherford, Texas native transferred to Kansas State for the 2017 season, where she split time at setter and averaged 4.71 assists per set and 1.71 digs per set. She was second on the team with 27 total aces and led the team in aces per set with 0.27. Smith, who will train as a setter, had a season-high 29 assists in a five-set match at Georgia Tech on Sept. 8, and she had three double-doubles on the season. “Brooke found out she missed Nebraska and the relationships she built in her first two years here,” Cook said. “She is a great addition to our team because she is such a hard worker, great teammate and a player everyone really respects. We are very excited to have Brooke back for her final season.” Kurkova is a native of Opava, Czech Republic and played club volleyball for PVK Olymp Praha while attending Přípotoční High School. A 5-11 setter, Kurkova has been a part of the Czech Republic women’s national team and played in the 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix. Kurkova played with the Czech Republic women’s national team in the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix and was part of the U20 team that competed in the 2015 World Championship. Kurkova, who has completed a bachelor’s degree, will be a graduate transfer with two seasons of eligibility. “After Hunter Atherton’s transfer we began looking for another setter, and we found out about Mari and started the process,” Cook said. “She is unique in that she is a grad student, so she will be working on a master’s degree for the next two years. We felt that she would be a good fit at Nebraska because she has experience, she knows what she wants, and there is also a great Czech population in the state of Nebraska.” Abramovich is a 5-6 freshman defensive specialist/libero from Kfar Saba, Israel. She played club volleyball for Hapoel Kfar Saba last season and led her team to the ISR National Championship. Hapoel Kfar Saba reached the second round of the CEV Champions League and finished 16th in the CEV Volleyball Cup. Abramovich competed with the Israel Junior National Team at the 2016 European Championship. “Chen approached us about playing volleyball at Nebraska once she completed her army commitment,” Cook said. “Chen comes from a strong volleyball family, and her mom is a national hero for starting the Mother’s Volleyball League in Israel, and now it has spread all over the world. Chen played in a league that played with international rules where the libero is not allowed to serve, but she has seen a lot of tough serves and will be a great addition to our back row.” The Huskers begin the 2018 season with the Red/White Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at Huskers.com/tickets or by calling 402-472-3111.
Former Pacific Tiger and utility player Samantha Owen will join the Nebraska softball team in the fall announced Head Coach Rhonda Revelle on Thursday. A junior, Owen has two seasons of eligibility left with the Huskers and will be able to compete immediately. In 2018, Owen started 46 of the Tigers' 47 games and led the team with 53 hits. She hit .382, recorded seven home runs, 37 RBIs and finished the season with a slugging percentage of .600. In West Coast Conference play, Owen finished in the top five in the conference in batting average, slugging, RBIs, doubles and total bases, helping her claim first-team All-WCC honors. She also earned NFCA All-West Region Third-Team honors. As a freshman, Owen was named to the All-WCC honorable mention team, after appearing in all but four games for the Tigers. She registered 36 hits and hit .259. She scored 19 runs and had 16 RBIs. She also led all freshmen with four homers. The Manteca, Calif., native was a standout at East Union High School. She was named the Stockton Record All-Area Player of the Year, in addition to earning VOL MVP and FLO Softball All-American accolades. Owen helped the Lancers claim the state title as a senior, posting a .507 batting average. Off the field, Owens was a standout in the classroom as well, graduating with Cum Laude honors.
Nebraska wide receiver JD Spielman earned his second watch list recognition Thursday morning, as he was named to the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse watch list. The Hornung Award is presented to the most versatile player in major college football. Spielman, who was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list last week, showed his versatility during a record-breaking freshman season which saw him earn All-Big Ten recognition at both wide receiver and kickoff returner. He hauled in 55 passes for 830 yards and a pair of scores, establishing school freshman marks in receptions, receiving yards, 100-yard receiving games (two) and all-purpose yards (1,572). Spielman ranked first or second among all FBS freshmen in receiving yards, receiving yards per game, catches and all-purpose yards in 2017. His redshirt freshman season was highlighted by establishing Nebraska’s single-game receiving yards record with a 200-yard performance against ninth-ranked Ohio State. In conference play, Spielman became just the second Big Ten freshman since 1985 to lead the league in receiving yards per game during the conference season (88.1). He tied Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor for second in the Big Ten with an average of 157.8 all-purpose yards per game in league play and was fifth in catches per game. Spielman will look to be NU’s first-ever Hornung Award winner, as Ameer Abdullah was a finalist for the award in 2014.
Junior punter Caleb Lightbourn garnered recognition Wednesday, as he was named to the 2018 Ray Guy Award preseason watch list. The Ray Guy Award, named after College and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Ray Guy, is presented to the nation’s top punter.
Lightbourn, a two-year starter from Washougal, Wash., is one of 27 players on the watch list released Wednesday. As a sophomore, he averaged 42.1 yards per punt while placing 21 of his 59 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. He averaged a career-best 48.0 yards per punt against No. 9 Ohio State and had a career-long 68-yard punt against No. 9 Wisconsin. In all, he averaged 2.4 yards more per punt in 2017 than as a freshman and tallied 13 punts of 50 yards or more. The three finalists will be announced in November with the winner being announced on the College Football Awards show on Dec. 6.
CHADRON- Gering PVC's struggle out of the gate, but scratch out a victory over Ogallala 7-5 Monday evening. Gering's pitching duo of Brayden Tarr and Chris Palomo combined to fan 15 batters in the victory. As Tarr got the start for Gering and went five innings allowing 5 earned with 7 K's, then Palomo came in relief for three innings strikingout 8 on 51 total pitches as he was credited with the win. Below are the highlights from last nights win over Ogallala
The PVC's thus far this season have been shoutout in three contests with Alliance 25 to nothing. Including being no-hit in the season opener. Tune in tonight on kettfm.com or Sunny 99.3 beginning at 4:45pm for the Runza Pre-Game show.
KANSAS CITY, MO – The National Association of Basketball Coaches announced today the matchups for the championship round of the 2018 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker. All four games of the Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker at Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO., will be aired live on ESPN networks.
On Monday, November 19, Nebraska will take on Missouri State at 6 pm CT on ESPNU, followed by USC and Texas Tech at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN2. On Tuesday, November 20, the consolation game will tip off at 6 pm CT on ESPN3, followed by the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker championship game at 8:30pm ET on ESPN2.
Tickets for the championship round games at Sprint Center will be available beginning at 10:00am CT on August 4th by visitingwww.halloffameweekend.com,www.axs.com, by phone at 888-929-7849, or in person at Sprint Center Box Office.
The Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker will be the culminating event of college basketball’s Hall of Fame Weekend, which also includes the 13th annual induction ceremony for the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. That event will take place on Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in Kansas City.
---- CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS ----
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Mo.
Monday, November 19 – 6:00 PM CT
Nebraska vs. Missouri State (ESPNU)
USC vs. Texas Tech (ESPN2)
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Mo.
Tuesday, November 20 – 6:00 PM CT
Consolation Game (ESPN3)
Championship Game (ESPN2)
Those four schools will serve as the four host round participants for this year’s Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker, with the opening round games of the tournament beginning on November 6th. Each of those teams will play two games on campus, before advancing to the championship rounds in Kansas City. Joining the four host teams in the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker are Mississippi Valley State, Robert Morris, Southeastern Louisiana and Stetson. The complete list of games for the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic Powered by Shot Tracker are as follows:
---- HOST ROUNDS ----
Springfield Regional Rounds
JQH Arena – Springfield, MO
Friday, November 9 – Time TBD
Robert Morris at Missouri State
Sunday, November 11 – Time TBD
Stetson at Missouri State
Lubbock Regional Rounds
United Supermarkets Arena– Lubbock, TX
Friday, November 9 – Time TBD
Mississippi Valley State at Texas Tech
Tuesday, November 13 – Time TBD
Southeastern Louisiana at Texas Tech
Lincoln Regional Rounds
Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, NE
Tuesday, November 6 – Time TBD
Mississippi Valley State at Nebraska
Sunday, November 11 – Time TBD
Southeastern Louisiana at Nebraska
Los Angeles Regional Rounds
Galen Center – Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, November 6 – Time TBD
Robert Morris at USC
Wednesday, November 14 – Time TBD
Stetson at USC