The Nebraska volleyball team will play its lone 2017 spring match against Colorado State at the new Kearney High School on Saturday at 3 p.m. The match will have an audio broadcast on Huskers.com. Select Husker Sports Network affiliates (Lexington and North Platte) will carry the match on the radio. John Baylor and Matt Coatney will call the action. Doors to the match will open at 1:30 p.m. The Huskers will sign autographs for one hour following the match. Approximately 2,000 tickets to the contest sold out in less than 30 minutes.
The trip to Kearney continues Nebraska’s tradition of touring the state for spring volleyball matches. The Huskers played Colorado in Ogallala last year and have also made recent visits to Grand Island, Wayne and Norfolk.
The Huskers also will hold an open practice at Kearney High School on Friday from 6-7:30 p.m. A short autograph session will follow.
Nebraska is coming off a Big Ten championship in 2016 and its second straight NCAA Semifinals appearance. The Huskers won their fourth national title in 2015 but fell short of a repeat in 2016 after a 3-0 loss to Texas in the semifinals. The Huskers left everything on the court last year, winning their first Big Ten title since 2011 and placing four student-athletes on the AVCA All-America teams.
Nebraska’s spring volleyball roster comprises 12 players after the loss of four seniors to graduation, including three All-Americans. The Huskers indeed will have a significantly new look in 2017 with six new players. Allie Havers, a 6-5 middle blocker who just completed a four-year career on Nebraska’s women’s basketball team, has already joined the team and has one season of eligibility to play volleyball, a sport she excelled at in high school. Havers and five incoming freshmen make up the group of six newcomers in 2017.
Those six will join a solid group of 11 returners, including All-American setter and captain Kelly Hunter. The 5-11 senior is poised to lead the Huskers after a sensational junior season in which she earned second-team All-America honors and an All-Big Ten selection. Fellow senior Briana Holman, who has also received All-America recognition in her career, will provide leadership for the young Husker squad, as will seniors Annika Albrecht and Sydney Townsend. Junior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke has twice received AVCA All-America honorable mention and has been working toward becoming a six-rotation player for the Huskers.
In addition to new faces on the court next season, head coach John Cook will rely on new faces on the bench. Tyler Hildebrand and Kayla Banwarth enter their first seasons as assistant coaches on the Husker staff, filling the positions previously held by Chris Tamas (new Illinois head coach) and Dani Busboom Kelly (new Louisville head coach).