When most people think University of Nebraska Cornhuskers they think football, Go Big Red, Blackshirts, and 300 pound linemen. What most people don't realize is that Nebraska is also a volleyball state. Nebraska sold out their last 71 matches and they've sold out every game in the 2006 season, which will extend that streak to 89 matches by the end of the season. The sell-out streak began in 2001. Such is the love affair that exists between Nebraskans and their volleyball team.
Nebraska spent the entire 2005 season at #1, losing only two matches - one at Texas to finish as Big 12 Champions at 19-1, and to an excellent Washington Huskies team in the final.
2006 starts with Nebraska ranked #1, (preseason poll here) according to the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Assocation).
The number one ranking comes despite losing Christina Houghtelling, AVCA National Player in 2005, for the season due to shoulder surgery. (Houghtelling is from Cambridge, near my hometown of Curtis, BTW.) Houghtelling will continue to be a captain for the 2006 season.
Christina Houghtelling - Huskers.com
Redshirt freshman Rachel Holloway will be the starting setter in place of Houghtelling. Holloway is the first Nebraska freshman to start a season running a one-setter system during the modern volleyball era.
Rachel Holloway - Huskers.com
Key to Nebraska's season is 6' 5" Sarah Pavan, 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year and a strong candidate for 2006 Player of the Year. Also has a 4.0 in biochemistry. She has been a two-time first team All-American, the tallest player in Nebraska history and the first from Canada.
Sarah Pavan - Huskers.com
Senior Dani Busboom has switched to from setter to libero this season. Busboom is a 2006 co-captain.
Dani Busboom - Huskers.com
Nebraska began the 2006 season with a sweep of #20 San Diego, and will play perennial powerhouse Long Beach State on Sunday.
The 2006 Final Four will be played in Omaha this year. Expect sell-out crowds, even if Nebraska doesn't make it.
The University of Florida; University of Hawaii, Manoa; University of Texas at Austin; and University of Washington will serve as hosts for the 2006 regionals, which will be held December 8-9.
Preseason Top 25 - Big 12 representatives:
#25 Kansas State
p.s. There isn't a lot of news available regarding collegiate volleyball. I can use all the help I can get here, so if you're a Husker volleyball fan, I'd appreciate any news, impressions, pictures, etc you can send.