The 2014 Husker Volleyball season is almost upon us. Are you excited? I am.
This season comes with one question mark. Frankly, I’m of the opinion that we overachieved last year based on the experience we had. Three Freshmen (Amber Rolfzen, Kadie Rolfzen, and Justine Wong-Orantes) were major contributors. Meghan Haggerty and Cecilia Hall were Sophomores and while Mary Pollmiller (Jr) and Kelsey Robinson (Sr) brought experience, last year was their first (and in Robinson’s case only) year in Lincoln.
Usually replacing just one player is cause for celebration. However, Kelsey Robinson led the team last year with 530 kills and led the regulars with a hitting percentage of .318.
Who replaces Robinson (known to many as Robo)? Well, that’s an answer we simply don’t have yet. Last year about this time, I was speculating that Morgan Broekhuis would have one of the best years a Husker right side had ever had. She hardly saw the court.
The smart money this year is on either Kelsey Fien or Melanie Keil with Alicia Ostrander as a dark horse. However, there are two freshman, Maddie Haggerty (Meghan’s little sister) and Annika Albrecht who are listed as outsides on the roster. We saw last year that Coach Cook is not afraid to put young’uns on the court if he thinks they’ll contribute. I’m guessing we’ll replace Kelsey with… Well with Kelsey.
The Huskers don’t mess around when it comes to their opening weekend. The number 13 ranked Florida State Seminoles visit on Friday the 29th in a match that will be featured by BTN’s subscription service, BTNPlus. Sunday, August 31st has the third ranked Stanford Cardinal coming to town in a match that will be carried on BTN. Texas comes back to Lincoln, where they knocked us out of last year’s tournament.
The bright side of playing in the B1G is we get a LOT of TV coverage. It helps to have NET’s great local coverage. In addition to that, we get six home matches on BTN, and eight home and three road matches on BTNPlus (The previously mentioned subscription streaming service). ESPN has two matches as well.
Experts have the Huskers finishing second in the conference this year, which is pretty high given that there are seven B1G teams in the top 16 in the AVCA rankings. Penn State is currently ranked #1 nationally and we get them at home and on the road.
A final note: The renovations on Devaney are done, and it looks beautiful! There was also a lot of work that went into traffic flow, so leaving in particular oughta be better. Oh, and Lincoln is now home to the ONLY revenue producing women’s volleyball program in the country, joining UConn and Tennessee women’s basketball as the only revenue producing women’s sports in the country. I can’t tell you how awesome I think that is.
I can’t wait to get back to Devaney and see the Huskers play. It should be an incredibly exciting season once again. I think the experience on the floor will pay off in a big way, and unless Russ Rose forgets what he’s doing, beating Penn State in conference will be hard to do. I’ve got us finishing behind them, but we could make a good run in the tournament.