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Nebraska Volleyball Faces Delaware State in the Opening Round of the NCAA Tournament

Nebraska (24-5, B1G 16-4) vs Delaware State (24-6, MEAC 11-3)
When: Thursday, December 1st, 2022, 7 pm
Where: Devaney Center
Video: ESPN+
Radio: Husker Radio Network

Nebraska (24-5, B1G 16-4)

#1 Nicklin Hames 5’10’’ SR Setter, Maryville, TN
#2 Kenzie Knuckles 5’8’’ SR DS/L, Yorktown, IN
#4 Anni Evans 5’9’’ JR Setter, Waverly, NE
#5 Bekka Allick 6’4’’ FR MB, Lincoln, NE
#7 Maisie Boesiger 5’6’’ FR DS/L, Firth, NE
#8 Lexi Rodriguez 5’5’’ SO DS/L, Sterling, IL
#9 Kennedi Orr 6’0’’ SO Setter, Eagan, MN
#10 Madi Kubik 6’3’’ SR OH, West Des Moines, IA
#13 Whitney Lauenstein 6’2’’ SO OH, Waverly, NE
#14 Ally Batenhorst 6’5’’ SO OH, Houston, TX
#22 Lindsay Krause 6’4’’ SO OH, Papillion, NE
#23 Kaitlyn Hord 6’4’’ SR MB, Lexington, KY
#33 Hayden Kubik 6’2’’ FR OH, West Des Moines, IA
#44 Maggie Mendelson 6’5’’ FR MB, Ogden, UT

Delaware State (24-6, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference 11-3)

#1 Karen Cordero 5’9’’ SR OH, Chula Vista, CA/Western Nebraska CC
#2 Jasmal Cruz 5’7’’ SR L, Trujillo Alto, PR
#6 Kelsie Dawson 6’1’’ SO MB, Nashville, TN
#11 Danielle Allen 5’8’’ SR OH, Burlington, Ontario/Eastern Illinois U
#15 Valeria Otero 5’9’’ JR OH, Manati, PR
#18 Alayna Lacy 5’7’’ JR Setter, Jeffersonville, IN
#19 Alondra Maldonado 6’1’’ JR OH, Patillas, PR
#30 Sydney Lewis 6’1’’ SR MB, Bowie, MD

Tonight Nebraska welcomes three teams to Devaney for the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. As the #7 overall seed in the tournament, and #2 seed in their section of the bracket, the Huskers are a host site for the first and second round of the tournament.

All around the country teams are playing these first two rounds in pods on either a Thursday and Friday schedule, or a Friday and Saturday schedule. We’ll wake up Sunday morning and there will only be 16 teams remaining.

Round 1 in Devaney begins with the match between #7 Miami (19-10) vs Kansas (18-10). These two teams face off at 4:30 pm CT. You can watch this match along with all first and second round matches on ESPN+.

Husker fans will remember Aneka Szabo. She played for Nebraska from 2017-19. She is the starting right side hitter for Kansas, and is in her sixth year. She had a redshirt year as well as the COVID eligibility year. This is her final year of college volleyball and she is making it a good one. She is playing very solid for the Jayhawks averaging 2.31 kills per set and .61 blocks per set.

The match between Nebraska and Delaware State follows the Miami vs Kansas match.
4:30 p.m. – Miami vs Kansas
7 p.m.* – Nebraska vs Delaware State
*or 30 minutes following the conclusion of the 4:30 p.m. match, but no sooner than 7 p.m.

The Delaware State University Hornets traveled from Dover, DE as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champions. They defeated Coppin State in the finals of their conference tournament. This is DSU’s first appearance in the NCAA volleyball tournament.

The Hornets outside hitter, Karen Cordero is excited to return to Nebraska. She began her college career at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. NE. She described going back to Nebraska as “filled with many great old memories”.

Her coach from WNCC, Binny Canales, is making the trip to Lincoln to see her play against the Huskers. Coach Canales had a lot to say about this National Junior College Athletic Association All American and what she meant to the WNCC Cougar program.

She fought for every point keeping a high level of composure while maintaining passion and intensity. She was such a smart hitter combined with power, a complete passer and defender. Karen brings intensity and ball control to Delaware St. Her competitive nature will inspire everyone around her. With Karen playing on such a high-stage makes me so proud and I am honored to have coached her!!

Cordero was able to play against one of her former WNCC teammates in the MEAC Championship. Andrea Tsvetanova is the setter for Coppin State.

Tonight, Nebraska and Delaware State play for first time ever. Both teams have held their opponents to very low hitting percentages through the season. Nebraska’s opponents averaged .129 hitting percentage, which is the best in the country in this statistical category. Right behind them in second place is DSU, holding their opponents to an average of .132 hitting percentage.

The Nebraska block will see smaller hitters than the ones they are used to facing in the Big Ten. DSUs tallest hitter is 6’1’’ and shortest hitter is 5’8’’. Ultimately the advantage should go to the taller player but a shorter hitter can cause fits for the block. As the shorter player attacks from a lower contact point, she can hit off blockers hands in a different way than someone taller.

Husker hitters should find success with a smaller blocking team. The focus for the hitters is to keep the ball high and to not bring the arm swing down into the block. All blockers push their hands over the net as far as their height and vertical jump allow them. Every blocker has the potential to block a ball if the hitter brings the ball down to the blocking level. Hitting over the block is key.

The winner of the Miami vs Kansas match faces the winner of the Nebraska vs Delaware State match on Friday at 7 pm CT in the Bob Devaney Center. GBR!