The third-ranked Nebraska volleyball team begins Big Ten play this weekend with a pair of home matches. The Huskers host Michigan State on Friday at 7 p.m. and turn around 24 hours later to host No. 7 Ohio State at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Saturday’s match with Ohio State will be broadcast on KBBN 95.3 FM with coverage on the Huskers Radio Network beginning at 6:30.
Nebraska head coach John Cook enters the weekend with 799 career wins – 638 at Nebraska and 161 at Wisconsin. With one more win, Cook will become the 19th Division I coach in NCAA volleyball history to reach 800 career wins, and the sixth active coach do to so. Cook will become the 16th coach to have accumulated 800 wins solely at the Division I level.
The Huskers are hitting .265 as a team and are holding their opponents to .127 hitting, which ranks third nationally. Outside hitter Whitney Lauenstein is averaging a team-high 3.60 kills per set with a team-leading .325 hitting percentage to go with 1.03 blocks per set. Lauenstein had a career-high 25 kills on .385 hitting in a win at No. 17 Creighton on Sept. 7. It was the most kills by a Husker in a match since Mikaela Foecke had 27 kills in the NCAA Championship match against Stanford in 2018. Last week, Lauenstein became a regular server for the Huskers and logged four total aces against Stanford and Kentucky.
Michigan State is 9-2 but has not played a ranked opponent yet this season. No. 7 Ohio State is 4-4 this season against one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. The Buckeyes’ losses are to No. 1 Texas (twice), No. 4 San Diego and No. 10 Pittsburgh. They have wins over No. 2 Louisville, No. 13 Georgia Tech and No. 16 BYU, as well as Tennessee. Nebraska leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 23-2-2. The Huskers have won 12 in a row in the series dating back to 2013. Nebraska is 17-9 all-time against Ohio State, though the Buckeyes have won the last two matches.