The Nebraska volleyball team was selected as the favorite to win the Big Ten Conference title in the coaches’ preseason volleyball poll released Thursday afternoon by the conference office. The defending Big Ten Champion Huskers were voted to finish first, while Penn State was voted to finish second and Purdue third. Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio State rounded out the rest of the top six.
The conference office also announced its Preseason All-Big Ten Team on Thursday, with three Huskers being honored, including unanimous selections seniors Lauren Cook and Hannah Werth. Cook and Werth were joined by senior Gina Mancuso, as the Huskers were one of four schools with more than two honorees.
Cook will lead the Husker offense in 2012 after she was a first-team All-Big Ten and AVCA honorable mention All-America selection in 2011. She took over at setter as a junior after sharing the position with two-time All-American Sydney Anderson in NU’s 6-2 rotation in 2010. Cook helped the Huskers hit .300 or better in 10 matches in 2011, including two matches over .400. She also led NU with 18 double-doubles on the year.
Werth will guide the Husker defense as a senior after earning AVCA honorable mention All-America and first-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior. She recorded 10 double-doubles in 2011, while averaging 2.80 kills per set and 3.11 digs per set on the season. Werth notched at least 10 kills in 18 matches, while recording at least 10 digs in 19 matches in 2011. She also posted a streak of eight matches where she recorded at least 10 digs.
Mancuso produced a stellar junior campaign and closed the season with an AVCA first-team All-America honor. Elevating her play in her third year with the Huskers, she led the team in kills and points in 2011 and was also a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection. She averaged 3.60 kills per set, 2.66 digs per set and was continually ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten Conference for total kills during the season. She totaled 406 kills in 2011 and notched at least 10 kills in 27 matches.
Fans will have their first opportunity to see the Huskers in at the Red/White Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available online at Huskers.com or by calling 1-800-8-BIGRED. Fans are also encouraged to secure their tickets through Ticketmaster for the Nebraska-Notre Dame match at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha on Aug. 26 at 1:30 p.m.
Courtesy: NU Media Relations