Nebraska Opens Big Ten Play at Northwestern
The No. 12 Nebraska volleyball team (6-3, 0-0 Big Ten) turns its attention to Big Ten play this Wednesday, Sept. 22, visiting Northwestern (5-6, 0-0). First serve is set for 8 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. The match will be televised on BTN with Chris Vosters on play-by-play and Emily Ehman providing color commentary.
This week's action will be carried on Huskers Radio Network with the NU radio team of John Baylor and Lauren Cook West. Baylor is in his 28th season handling play-by-play duties for the Husker volleyball program, and West, a former All-America setter at NU, will provide color commentary for the sixth straight year.
Huskers Radio Network will carry the matches on HRN radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and AM 590 in Omaha. A live audio stream will be available at Huskers.com and on the Huskers app.
• After opening the year on a six-match win streak, the Huskers look to rebound from three straight losses to No. 20 Utah (Sept. 11), No. 16 Stanford (Sept. 14) and No. 5 Louisville (Sept. 18).
• Nebraska held a streak of 60 straight weeks in the top of the AVCA poll before moving to 12th this week. The last time the Huskers ranked outside the top 10 was Sept. 18, 2017, when they were 14th.
• Prior to this week, Nebraska had not dropped consecutive matches since a three-match skid from Oct. 13-20, 2018. In the last 30 years, NU has had three straight losses only four times.
• The last time NU dropped three consecutive non-conference matches was Sept. 14-21, 1991.
• The Huskers played four straight top-20 opponents in an 11-day span this month with No. 19 Creighton (Sept. 8), No. 20 Utah (Sept. 11), No. 16 Stanford (Sept. 14) and No. 5 Louisville (Sept. 18).
• Before Saturday's loss to Louisville, NU had gone 644 days without being swept. It's last 3-0 loss was to Wisconsin in the NCAA regional final on Dec. 14, 2019.
• Five of NU's six freshmen have seen the court so far this year. The Huskers started four -- Ally Batenhorst, Lindsay Krause, Whitney Lauenstein and Lexi Rodriguez -- last Tuesday at No. 16 Stanford.
Scouting the Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern is 5-6 (0-0 Big Ten) on the season after a 2-1 weekend at the Chicago Cup, with wins over UIC (3-1) and Loyola Chicago (3-0). In the tournament finale against the Ramblers, Temi Thomas-Ailara led the way with 12 kills, three blocks and two aces. The Wildcats have won four of their last six matches. Thomas-Ailara owns a team-best 3.60 kills per set to rank ninth in the Big Ten, as well as fifth for service aces per set (0.47).
Northwestern finished 4-6 last spring, and Thomas-Ailara earned first-team All-Big Ten honors.
Shane Davis is in his sixth season at the helm with a career record of 63-86 at Northwestern.
Noting the Series
In the history of Nebraska-Northwestern matchups, the Huskers lead the all-time series 15-1, including 12-1 in the John Cook era. The Huskers have won 11 straight in the series -- the last eight in three sets -- and are 5-1 when the match is set in Evanston.
The most recent Nebraska-Northwestern contest was Nov. 6, 2019 at the Devaney Center. In a 3-0 sweep, the Huskers had 13.5 blocks as a team and held Northwestern to -.054 hitting as a team. Lexi Sun had 11 kills on .455 hitting, and Madi Kubik, Lauren Stivrins and Jazz Sweet each had 10 kills.
The Huskers last visited Evanston on Sept. 28, 2019, sweeping the Wildcats 3-0. Sun (11) and Stivrins (10) both finished with double-figure kills behind Sweet's team-best 13 kills.
Nebraska plays host to Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 25, with first serve set for 2 p.m. at the Devaney Center. The match will be televised on Nebraska Public Media -- formerly known as NET -- and streamed on Big Ten Network+. John Baylor and Lauren Cook West will have the radio call on Huskers Radio Network.