After a successful start to the 2020-21 season, the No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team will make its debut at the Bob Devaney Sports Center this weekend when the Northwestern Wildcats visit for matches on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game will be broadcast on KBBN 95.3 FM with coverage on the Huskers Sports Network beginning at 5:30.
About the Huskers
• Nebraska began the season with a pair of sweeps at Indiana last weekend. It marks the first time since 2015 that the Huskers have opened a season with consecutive sweeps.
• The Huskers led the Big Ten in defense last season and picked up where they left off, holding Indiana to .089 hitting on the weekend. That mark leads the Big Ten after the first week of play.
• The Huskers return every starter from last year’s 28-5 squad that reached the NCAA Regional Final against eventual national runner-up Wisconsin.
• Senior middle blocker Lauren Stivrins and senior outside hitter Lexi Sun were AVCA All-Americans and All-Big Ten First-Team selections in 2019. Junior setter Nicklin Hames was also an All-Big Ten First-Team choice in 2019. Stivrins and Hames return to captain the Huskers for a second straight season.
• Sophomore outside hitter Madi Kubik was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2019 and, along with sophomore libero Kenzie Knuckles, was a member of the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
• The Huskers added four newcomers during the offseason, including junior Missouri transfer Kayla Caffey. The middle blocker ranked ninth nationally with a .408 hitting percentage during the 2019 season. She joins three freshmen who are new to the program: middle blocker Kalynn Meyer, setter Anni Evans and defensive specialist Keonilei Akana.
• Sun leads the Huskers with 3.67 kills per set on .286 hitting with a team-high five service aces. Kubik adds 2.67 kills per set and 1.83 digs per set.
• Stivrins is putting up 2.67 kills per set on a team-high .429 hitting percentage to go with 1.33 blocks per set. Junior middle blocker Callie Schwarzenbach leads the team in blocks with 2.00 per set.
• Hames paces the Husker attack with 10.00 assists per set, and she chips in 2.83 digs per set with three service aces.
• Knuckles leads the team in digs at 3.33 per set. Akana adds 2.17.
• Caffey had a strong first match as a Husker at Indiana. She provided six kills on .273 hitting with three blocks.
• Sophomore Riley Zuhn made her first career starts as Nebraska’s right-side hitter last weekend. She averaged 2.33 kills per set on .290 hitting and showed off her blocking prowess with seven blocks.
• Northwestern swept a pair of matches at home last weekend against Rutgers.
• The Wildcats are led by sophomore hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara, who was an All-Big Ten Second Team selection as a freshman last season. Thomas-Ailara, who averaged 3.94 kills per set in 2019, had 13 and 16 kills in the first two matches of the season.
• Abryanna Cannon adds 3.17 kills per set and 3.50 digs per set.
• Former Husker Megan Miller transferred to Northwestern after the 2019 season and had 19 digs and four aces in the Wildcats’ season-opening weekend.
• Nebraska is 15-1 all-time against Northwestern. The Huskers have won 11 straight in the series, including eight sweeps in a row. The Wildcats’ lone win came in 2011, Nebraska’s first year in the Big Ten.