Playing its first match as a member of the Big Ten, No. 10 Nebraska outlasted four-time reigning national champ and No. 5 Penn State in five sets (25-18, 25-16, 23-25, 19-25, 15-10) Wednesday in front of a sold out crowd at the NU Coliseum. Gina Mancuso led Nebraska with 22 kills and added 10 digs en route to tallying her fifth double-double of the season. Morgan Broekhuis also had a double-double, the second of her career, and Lauren Cook notched 53 assists. Penn State’s Ariel Scott led the Nittany Lions with a match-best 23 kills.
As if the competition of the Big Ten wasn’t a big enough adjustment, the Nebraska volleyball team also must adapt to a new schedule in its first season in the Big Ten. Unlike the Big 12, Nebraska’s previous conference, the Big Ten plays its weekend conference games on back-to-back nights, Friday and Saturday. It’s something that will take some getting used to. No. 10 Nebraska hosts No. 5 Penn State in the teams’ Big Ten opener at 8 ET Wednesday on BTN. Our Big Ten Women’s Sports Report discussed the Huskers’ adjustment in this web-only segment.
With eleven Big Ten teams earning preseason recognition in the first AVCA coaches’ poll, it’s going to be another competitive season. The Big Ten’s eight top-25 teams is the most for any conference in the country. Defending NCAA Champion Penn State earned the preseason #1 ranking, followed by Nebraska at #5, Illinois at #8, Minnesota at #12, Purdue at #13, Ohio State at #21 and Michigan at #24. Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin each also received votes in the preseason poll. Watch now as Kara Lentz takes a look at each Big Ten team heading into the 2011 volleyball season.
Casual Nebraska fans know the school’s steep football tradition, but they don’t know much about the volleyball program. Well, John Cook’s team has been the school’s most successful program in the new millennium, winning nine Big 12 championships and the 2000 and 2006 national titles. Cook, a two-time national coach of the year, says Nebraska has a big challenge ahead of itself in the loaded Big Ten: “I think this is going to be the premier volleyball conference in the country.”