The 4th ranked Husker volleyball squad returns first-team AVCA All-American Gina Mancuso and AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans Lauren Cook, Hannah Werth and Morgan Broekhuis to the 2012 roster, as they get ready for a busy weekend with three games planned on the schedule. The Huskers open the season with Saint Louis and UCLA at the NU Coliseum on Friday and Saturday, and traveling to the CenturyLink Center in Omaha for a match up with Notre Dame on Sunday.
Nebraska begins the 2012 season as the second-winning program in Division I history with 1,140 wins and trails only UCLA (1,158) on the all-time list. Nebraska will carry a streak of 164 consecutive sellouts at the NU Coliseum into the 2012 season, the longest sellout streak across all NCAA women’s athletics. The Huskers averaged 4,522 fans per home contest last season.
Nebraska has 10 players on its 2012 roster who were Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selections, representing the top-50 players in that year’s recruiting class. Five of the Huskers’ last seven recruiting classes have ranked in the top five nationally, including the 2009 class that was ranked second by Prepvolleyball.com.
Scouting the Saint Louis Billikens
• Saint Louis is coming off a 15-13 record in 2011.
• The Billikens return five starters from a year ago, including senior setter Cassie Clarke, senior middle blocker Carly Marcum, junior defensive specialist/libero Grace Bonoma and senior Andrea Bolt, all of whom played in all 105 sets in 2011.
• The Billikens finished 10-5 in the Atlantic-10 Conference in 201, posting a third-place finish.
• Clarke transferred to Saint Louis from Arkansas prior to the 2011 season and averaged 9.41 assists, 2.39 digs and 0.51 blocks per set while also contributing 84 kills and 23 service aces.
Scouting the UCLA Bruins
• UCLA is coming off a 30-6 record and an NCAA Championship in 2011
• The Bruins return All-American Rachael Kidder in 2012 after she started all 34 matches and led the Bruins with 4.70 kills per set and 5.24 points per set as a junior.
• UCLA also returns Bjoana Todorovic as she led the team with 39 aces, while averaging 2.28 digs and 0.73 kills per set in 2011.
• Mariana Aquino returns as a junior who led the team with 1.12 blocks per set in 2011, including a holding a .326 hitting percentage and averaging 1.67 kills per set.
• The Bruins were picked as the preseason Pac-12 favorite, earning 10 first-place votes.
• UCLA comes into the contest with the Huskers ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll.
Scouting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
• Notre Dame is coming off a 17-13 record in 2011, including an 8-6 mark in the BIG EAST Conference.
• The Fighting Irish finished second in the BIG EAST Tournament in 2011.
• Notre Dame returns four starters from the 2011 season, including Jeni Houser who averaged 3.05 kills per set, 0.75 digs per set and 364.5 total points as a freshman.
• Andrea McHugh returns for the Fighting Irish after averaging 2.58 kills per set, 3.18 digs per set and 346.0 total points in 2011.