No. 9 Nebraska Set for Saturday Night Tilt With Illini
The No. 9 Nebraska volleyball team (13-3, 7-0 Big Ten) squares off with Illinois (12-6, 4-3) this Saturday, Oct. 16 with first serve at 6 p.m. from the Devaney Center. The match will be televised statewide on Nebraska Public Media -- formerly known as NET -- and streamed on Big Ten Network+ with Larry Punteney and Kathi Wieskamp on the call.
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. Inside the Devaney Center, fans can access the direct radio call of the match at 87.7 FM.
• Saturday is Nebraska’s fourth match in eight days.
• Nebraska has sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings and is the only remaining unbeaten team at 7-0 in conference play. The Huskers are ahead of Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin (5-1).
• The Huskers carry a season-long seven-match win streak. A win on Saturday would give them their eighth consecutive victory and their longest streak since 13 straight (Nov. 2-13, 2018).
• A win over Illinois would also be NU’s 10th at home this season.
• The Huskers’ Wednesday night sweep of Indiana was their eighth 3-0 win of the year and second in a row.
• NU leads the conference with a .301 attack percentage, 2.00 service aces per set and 17.39 digs per set in Big Ten matches.
• Seven of Nebraska’s top 10 team hitting performances have come in Big Ten matches over the last month.
• NU has gone at least 3-0 to start Big Ten play nine consecutive years. The Huskers’ current 7-0 start is its best since going 11-0 in its inaugural season in the conference in 2011.
• The Huskers moved up one spot in the AVCA national poll this week, coming in ninth.
• Nebraska held a streak of 60 straight weeks in the top 10 of the AVCA poll before briefly dropping to 12th in the Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 releases. It was the only time the Huskers had ranked outside the top 10 since Sept. 18, 2017, when they were 14th.
• NU opened 2021 with a six-match win streak, then dropped three straight to No. 20 Utah (Sept. 11), No. 16 Stanford (Sept. 14) and No. 5 Louisville (Sept. 18) before rebounding with seven wins.
• The Huskers played four straight top-20 opponents in an 11-day span last month with No. 19 Creighton (Sept. 8), No. 20 Utah (Sept. 11), No. 16 Stanford (Sept. 14) and No. 5 Louisville (Sept. 18).
• Five of NU’s six freshmen have seen the court this year.
Scouting the Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois is 12-6 (4-3 Big Ten) after a sweep of Iowa Wednesday night, which halted a three-match losing skid to three straight nationally-ranked opponents. Jessica Nunge and Raina Terry led the way against the Hawkeyes with nine kills each on hitting percentages of .391 and .300 respectively, while Megan Cooney and Kyla Swanson each added eight kills on the night. Diana Brown handed out 32 assists en route to directing the Illini to .326 hitting as a team.
UI finished 7-11 in Big Ten play last spring. Taylor Kuper was a first-team All-Big Ten selection, and Cooney picked up second-team honors.
Chris Tamas is in his fifth year at Illinois with a career record of 90-46.
Noting the Series: vs. Illinois
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Illinois 29-8-1, including 16-3 in the John Cook era. The Huskers have won four straight in the series dating back to 2018, and they look for their third straight sweep of UI tonight. NU has an 11-3 advantage over Illinois at home, including 4-2 at the Devaney Center.
The Huskers last met Illinois on March 6, 2021 in Champaign, Ill., finishing off a weekend sweep with a 3-0 win. The two teams last tangled in Lincoln on Oct. 27, 2018, when the Illini outlasted NU in a 3-1 decision. NU’s last home win over the Illini was Oct. 21, 2017 by a score of 3-1.
Nebraska hits the road for Iowa on Wednesday, Oct. 20, with first serve at 7 p.m. at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa. The match will be streamed on Big Ten Network+, and John Baylor and Lauren Cook West will also have the radio call on Huskers Radio Network.