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Open Thread: #1 Husker Volleyball Takes On #2 Minnesota

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The Huskers are looking to clinch their first Big Ten volleyball champioinship. Join us to cheer on Nebraska!

Gallery: Volleyball Opens Home Schedule with a Bang

The Nebraska volleyball team begins the final week of the regular season with a top-two showdown as the No. 1 Huskers travel to Minneapolis to take on the No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The Huskers are chasing their first Big Ten title since 2011 and with a win on Wednesday they would clinch at least a share of the title. Minnesota is still in the hunt and can earn a share of the title with a pair of wins this week and some help.

TV: The match will air on BTN and will be streamed at BTN2GO.com.

Radio: The Husker IMG Sports Network will broadcast the match on HSN affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and 105.9 FM in Omaha. Audio can also be streamed on Huskers.com.

With two matches remaining, Nebraska is in first place in the Big Ten standings with a 17-1 record. Wisconsin is second at 16-2, and Minnesota is third at 15-3. Nebraska can clinch at least a share of the conference title with one win and can claim the title outright with a pair of victories this week.

Wisconsin hosts Iowa on Wednesday and visits Minnesota on Saturday, and one loss by the Badgers this week would also guarantee Nebraska at least a share of the title. Minnesota can only clinch a share of the title by winning both of its matches against Nebraska and Wisconsin this week, and would also need Michigan to knock off the Huskers on Saturday.

Series History: Nebraska is 33-6 all-time against Minnesota and 7-2 in the Big Ten era. The Huskers won the previous meeting between the teams this season on October 23 in Lincoln, 3-2. In that match, the Huskers won sets two and three before Minnesota forced a fifth. Nebraska rolled in the final set to a 15-8 win. The Huskers last visited Minnesota in 2014, a 3-2 Husker win after they fell behind 0-2.

Coaches: Nebraska head coach John Cook is in his 17th season at Nebraska and 24th overall season as a head coach. Cook is 494-63 at NU and 655-136 overall.

Hugh McCutcheon is 128-36 in his fifth season at Minnesota and in his career.

The Huskers are ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll, where they have spent 12 of 14 weeks this season.

  • Nebraska’s 17-1 Big Ten record is its best-ever Big Ten record through 18 matches. With one more win, Nebraska would have its most wins in Big Ten play, as the 2011 and 2015 Huskers went 17-3.
  • Nebraska leads the Big Ten in kills (14.41 per set) and hitting percentage (.300) and ranks third nationally in hitting percentage.
  • Defensively, the Huskers boast the top opponent hitting percentage in the conference at .138 and rank fourth in the nation. The Huskers are second in the Big Ten in digs (14.63 per set) and blocks (2.88 per set).
  • Nebraska’s defense in conference play has been stellar. The Huskers lead all teams in blocks (2.97 per set) and opponent hitting percentage (.143) in conference matches. Their opponent hitting percentage is significantly better than the next team, Illinois (.192).
  • The Huskers are a perfect 10-0 in road matches this season including a 9-0 mark against Big Ten teams. The Huskers have won 17 straight road matches, the longest streak since 2003-05 (26 straight), and they’ve won 24 straight matches played away from the Devaney Center.
  • Nebraska has held 11 straight opponents below .180 hitting. • Nebraska is 5-0 when losing the first set this season and is 3-0 in five-set matches.
  • Nebraska’s .887 win percentage under head coach John Cook is the best by any program since Cook took over in the 2000 season. Since Cook became head coach at Nebraska in 2000, the Huskers have won at least 20 straight matches nine separate times.
  • Nebraska has won 26 matches this season, marking the 16th time in his 17 years that Cook’s Huskers have reached at least 25 wins.
  • Nebraska won 28 straight matches from Oct. 30, 2015 to Sept. 28, 2016, which was the program’s longest winning streak since 2006-07.

Up Next: The Huskers conclude the regular season with Senior Night against No. 18 Michigan on Saturday at 7 p.m. on NET at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will air on Sunday at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. With the Huskers likely to host the first and second round for the 12th straight year, standing-room only tickets are for sale online at Huskers.com or at the Nebraska ticket office.