Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bay Area Husker ENews 12-19-06

HO, HO, HO, Merry Christmas Bay Area Husker Fans!

WOW!!! What a great Christmas present...another National Championship! Its been a few years, but the Volleyball Team did it again with great style and intestinal fortitude. Congrats to the team and the coaching staff on a "dig deep" victory over perennial favorite Stanford last Saturday night. See the articles below about the final four contests and the afterglow of victory. And to make it even sweeter, they are predicted to have an even better team next year!! Now lets get our football team back on track for another national title too. Will try to send another update before the Cotton Bowl on the 1st.

Best wishes to all the Husker fans out there for a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. Be sure to check out the NORAD Santa Tracker to watch the progress of St. Nick on Christmas Eve for all of those little Husker fans waiting for his visit: . And check out this funny website with lots of holiday trivia, several interactive Christmas cards, "mature" cartoons, and links to music and games:

On a more serious note, please take the time to remember the true meaning of this blessed holiday, and please say a prayer for those on watch around the world who are protecting our freedom to worship and our ability to celebrate the season. May they come home safely and with honor to eventually enjoy a "belated holiday" with their families.

Go Big Red (White and Blue),



The Huskers won their third national title with a 3-1 victory over Stanford on Saturday night in Omaha.

OMAHA – Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson combined for 41 kills as No. 1 Nebraska (33-1) rallied to defeat No. 2 Stanford (30-4) 27-20, 30-26, 30-28, 30-27 for its third NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in front of a record-crowd of 17,209 fans at the Qwest Center Omaha Saturday evening.

Nebraska, competing in the finals for the sixth time, also captured NCAA women’s volleyball championships in 1995 and 2000 with Husker coach John Cook leading the team during the past two title seasons. Only Stanford has won more women’s volleyball titles with six. The Huskers are the first team since 1991 to win a national title as the host institution.

Stanford was playing in its 12th championship match in the 26-year history of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal finished second for the sixth team in NCAA Tournament history.

Pavan, who was named the AVCA National Player of the Year earlier in the week, was selected as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the all-tournament by Larson, Nebraska’s Tracy Stalls and Rachel Holloway. Stanford’s Kristen Richards, Foluke Akinradewo and Cynthia Barboza were also named to the all-tournament team.

The top two seeds in the NCAA Tournament met for only the second time in an NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship title match. In 2002, top-seeded USC defeated No. 2 Stanford in four games. The NCAA Selection Committee began seeding the 64-team tournament field in 2000.

The championship match attendance of 17,209 was an all-time collegiate volleyball record, surpassing Thursday’s semifinal attendance of 17,013. The all-session attendance at the Qwest Center was 34,222, a new NCAA Championship record.

Stanford overcame a 23-21 deficit in the opening game with five unanswered points, with three kills from Kristin Richards, en route to a 30-27 victory. Despite Nebraska going up 7-2 in the second game, the game became nip-and-tuck with six lead changes and eight ties.

The Huskers overcame a 22-21 deficit by scoring nine of the last 14 points as Stalls and Dani Mancuso each turned in two kills. Nebraska overcame a 26-22 deficit in the third game by outscoring Stanford 8-2 down the stretch as Holloway notched a kill and two blocks with Amanda Gates. Nebraska controlled most of the fourth game, but it was a 6-1 run after leading 18-17 that separated the Huskers from Stanford for a 30-27 victory.

Pavan netted a match-high 22 kills with a .378 attack percentage, 13 digs and three block assists in leading the Huskers. Larson, who had eight kills in nine previous games within the NCAA Championships (semifinals and finals) the past years, scored 19 kills on 45 swings for a .378 attack percentage. She added a double-double with 15 digs and three blocks.

Mancuso chipped in 12 kills for the Huskers, while Stalls added 10 kills and seven block assists. Holloway provided 58 assists, five blocks and two kills in leading the Husker offense. Dani Busboom provided a match-high 21 digs. Kori Cooper tallied two kills and a block solo, while Gates tallied three blocks and a kill.

Erin Waller paced Stanford with 18 kills on .394 hitting, while Akinradewo added 15 kills and eight blocks. Richards contributed 14 kills and 12 digs, while Barboza charted 12 kills and three blocks. Franci Girard provided 10 kills and four blocks in the loss, while Bryn Kehoe totaled 61 assists, three aces, 14 digs and three blocks.

Nebraska hit .240 for the match while limiting Stanford to a .197 attack percentage. The Huskers out-dug the Cardinal 70-63, while both teams totaled 13 team blocks. Nebraska held a 5-4 ace advantage, and both teams had eight service errors.
The Nebraska athletic department will host a championship celebration on Sunday, Dec. 17 at the NU Coliseum at 11 a.m. All seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and parking for the event is free. Doors open at 10 a.m., while concessions and national championship apparrel will be available. For those fans not able to attend, the program will be available via a video web stream on Sunday evening free of charge on

Final Match Notes

Stanford Quotes

Nebraska Quotes

Nebraska vs. Stanford Box Score



Husker captains Tracy Stalls, Christina Houghtelling and Dani Busboom with Gov. Dave Heineman.

Lincoln – The National Champion Nebraska volleyball team returned home to the Nebraska Coliseum Sunday morning as nearly 2,500 supporters came out to celebrate NU’s 2006 campaign, culminating in the school’s third NCAA title Saturday night in front of an NCAA record crowd of 17,209 at Qwest Center Omaha.

The ceremony included a pair of declarations from Governor Dave Heineman, who not only announced that the week of Dec. 17-23 in the state as Nebraska Volleyball Week, but also declared Husker Head Coach John Cook as Governor for a Day. University of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman and NU Athletic Director Steve Pederson also lauded the athletic and academic success of the Husker program before turning the dais over to Head Coach John Cook and the 2006 captains, who thanked the fans for their support throughout the season.

Fans can watch the entire ceremony by clicking the link at the top of the page beginning later this afternoon. In addition, Saturday’s championship match will be rebroadcast on ESPNU on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. (central) and on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 3:30 a.m. (Pacific)


Associated Press (from ESPN website: ) See the video clip at the website.

OMAHA, Neb. -- Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson led Nebraska to the NCAA women's volleyball title Saturday night, combining for 41 kills in the Cornhuskers' 27-30, 30-26, 30-28, 30-27 victory over Stanford.

Pavan had 22 kills and Larson finished with 19.

Nebraska broke an 11-all tie in the fourth game with a kill, consecutive blocks and a Stanford hitting error that made it 15-11. Stanford pulled to 29-27, but Larson's kill ended the game, giving Nebraska its first title since 2000.

"This team maxed out their ability -- and they never really wavered the entire year," Nebraska coach John Cook said. "To win it here in Nebraska with this group of people -- to overcome the expectations of getting hear and dealing with that pressure -- is definitely number one."

Stanford coach John Dunning called the final the biggest game in college volleyball history. The Qwest Center capacity crowd of about 17,200 was the largest to ever watch a college volleyball match.

"I don't think you can underestimate that. The Red Wave was pretty powerful," Dunning said. "To have that behind them was a big thing."

Nebraska (33-1) became the first non Pac-10 team in five years to win a title, capping a season-long run atop the rankings. The Huskers came from behind in its final three wins, starting with a five-game comeback after going down 0-2 to Minnesota in the Gainesville (Fla.) regional final.

"The game volleyball is a game of streaks," Stanford setter Bryn Kehoe said. "I would say we were up, we let a streak go and that's how the game goes."

Stanford (30-4) went up 16-12 in the first game after a 7-1 run during which Foluke Akinradewo had three kills and a block assist. The Cornhuskers tied it 18 after a Cardinal hitting error and net violation.

Stanford led 27-24 after a five-point run on two errors and a net violation by Nebraska, and eventually won the first game 30-27.

Larson had seven kills and no errors in the first game for Nebraska, after posting six kills and six errors in the semifinal against UCLA on Thursday.

The Cornhuskers jumped to a 5-1 lead in the second game, but Stanford reclaimed the lead at 9-8 after two blocks, two kills and a service ace.

With the score tied at 24, Pavan deflected Cynthia Barboza's attempt straight up into the air, but couldn't see the ball. Rachel Holloway scrambled to make the dig and Larson set the ball across the court to Mancuso, who ended the point with a kill. The Huskers won the game 30-26.

"Whenever anybody makes a great play, it definitely pumps the team up," Holloway said. "I had an opportunity to make the play and I saw she didn't see it. She had no idea where the ball was."

The Cornhuskers were down 26-22 in the third game but rallied to tie it at 27. Erin Waller had nine kills in the game for Stanford, but Larson blocked her possible 10th kill to put the Cornhuskers up 29-28. Pavan ended the game on the next point with her 16th kill, giving Nebraska a 2-1 match lead.

"Her [Holloway's] sets were unbelievable," Pavan said. "I was like drooling when I was hitting them."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press


Sarah Pavan was named AVCA Player of the Year on Friday.

Omaha – University of Nebraska right side hitter Sarah Pavan earned one of college volleyball’s top honors Friday evening, as she was selected the American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year at the annual AVCA Banquet.

Pavan, a junior right side hitter from Kitchener, Ontario, is the fourth Husker to earn AVCA National Player-of the-Year honors, joining Allison Weston (1995), Greichaly Cepero (2000) and Christina Houghtelling (2005).

“I was a little surprised,” Pavan said after the announcement. “There are so many great players out there. It was humbling to be up there with those great people and to be singled out among all of them is unbelievable.”

Friday’s honor for Pavan marks the first time that one school has won the AVCA honor in consecutive years with different players, a feat that Pavan, a three-time All-American, credits to the efforts of the Husker coaching staff.

“It proves how good of a program that Nebraska is,” Cook said. “The coaching staff has done amazing things to help me become the player I am. The fact that Nebraska players have won it two years in a row speaks volumes for our program .

Friday’s honor is the second major award that Pavan has earned in the past month, as she was the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the Year, carrying a 4.00 GPA in biochemistry. Pavan becomes only the second player in NCAA Division I history to sweep both major athletic and academic volleyball awards the same season, joining Stanford’s Ogonna Nnamani, who won both honors in 2004.

Pavan averages a Big 12-best 5.08 kills per game, a total that ranks in the top-10 nationally, while also ranking among Big 12 leaders in points per game (5.99, first) and service aces per game (0.35, sixth). Her 564 kills ranks third on NU’s single-season list, while her 5.08 kills per game is second only to Nancy Metcalf’s 5.09 kills per game set in 1999. Pavan, who also averages 1.01 blocks and 1.43 digs per game, has four double-doubles in 2006 and nine matches this season with at least 20 kills, including the regional title match against No. 9 Minnesota and Thursday’s national semifinal against No. 4 UCLA.

One of only three Huskers to earn three first-team All-American certificates, Pavan has led No. 1 Nebraska to a 32-1 record and a match-up with No. 2 Stanford Saturday night. The Huskers have been ranked No. 1 all season and will look to become only the third team in NCAA Division I history to be ranked No. 1 an entire season.


Sarah Pavan earned All-America honors for the third time in her career.

Omaha – Four University of Nebraska volleyball players were honored Wednesday with selections to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American team. The Huskers chosen for the AVCA accolades included first-team selections Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson, second-team recipient Tracy Stalls and third-team honoree Rachel Holloway.

Wednesday’s selections marked the first time that Larson, Stalls and Holloway were chosen, increasing NU’s national-best total of AVCA All-Americans to 57 among 29 athletes. It marked the third time that the Huskers had four selections (2001 and 2005). Nebraska was the only Big 12 team with a first-team recepient, as seven Big 12 performers combined to earn a total of second first-, second or third-team accolades.

Pavan becomes the third Husker in school history to earn three AVCA first-team All-American certificates, joining Allison Weston and Nancy Metcalf in that distinguished club. The junior from Kitchener, Ontario leads the Big 12 and ranks 10th nationally with 5.07 kills per game, while also ranking among the Big 12 leaders in points per game (5.97, first) and service aces per game (0.33, sixth) Pavan had at least 20 kills eight times this season, including 20 in the regional final against No. 9 Minnesota last Saturday.

Larson earned first-team honors after an exceptional 2006 campaign. She averages 4.21 kills and 3.38 digs per game, ranking among the Big 12’s leaders in aces (0.50/gm, second), points (5.20, third), kills (fourth) and digs (10th). The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Larson has a team-best 21 double-doubles, including 10 in a row earlier in the season. She comes off one of the best performances of her career, a 21-kill, 17-dig effort in the regional title match. Larson also becomes the 12th Husker volleyball player from Nebraska to earn AVCA All-America accolades.

Stalls earns All-America accolades for the first time for a strong junior campaign. She averages 2.62 kills and 1.41 blocks per game, leading the Big 12 and ranking 11th national in hitting percentage while ranking fourth in blocks. She reached double-figures in kills 11 times entering the NCAA semifinals, including a 16-kill, 12-block effort at Colorado in November. Stalls’ hitting percentage is the best by a Husker since Amber Holmquist hit .406 in 2000.

Holloway becomes the second Husker freshman in school history to earn AVCA All-America honors, joining Pavan, who was tabbed in 2004. Holloway becomes the eighth Husker setter to earn All-Americans, as NU setters has combined for 16 AVCA All-America certificates. She averages 13.39 assists, 2.50 digs and 1.12 kills per game, ranking 12th nationally in assists. She guides an offensive attack that leads the country in kills and assists per game while ranking second nationally in hitting percentage. She had a career-best 65 assists in the win over Minnesota in the regional title match last Saturday.


The Big 12 Conference has announced Nebraska's conference football schedules through 2015.

Nebraska’s Big 12 Conference football schedules are set for the next nine seasons, as the Big 12 office released league schedules for the seasons of 2008 through 2015 on Tuesday.

Among the notes from Nebraska’s future Big 12 schedules are...

• Nebraska will continue to conclude the regular season with a Thanksgiving weekend matchup against Colorado. The NU-CU games may continue to be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but that determination will not be made until after the Big 12 has completed a new television contract.

• In five of the eight seasons between 2008 and 2015, Nebraska does not have a scheduled bye week prior to the Colorado game.

• The 2008, 2013 and 2014 schedules have 14 playing Saturdays, giving schools two off Saturdays during the course of the season. In those three seasons, the Huskers are scheduled to have a bye week before taking on Colorado to close the regular season.

• Nebraska will open conference play each year from 2008 to 2015 against either Missouri or Kansas State. The Huskers open against Missouri in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013, and against the Wildcats in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015.

• The Huskers’ rotation against the Big 12 South will remain the same. Nebraska will face Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013, and will take on Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015.

The Huskers’ 2007 schedule was set as part of the previous group of Big 12 schedules. Nebraska has completed its non-conference schedule for 2007, and has several future non-conference series’ set through 2017.

Minor changes to the Big 12 schedules could be made in the future to accommodate for television.

Nebraska Football Future Schedules (2007-2015)

Future Nebraska Football Schedules


Santa Claus made an appearance at the Husker Family Christmas party Sunday following practice.

Lincoln – Nebraska continued preparations for next month’s Cotton Bowl showdown with Auburn with its second straight day of workouts Saturday inside the Hawks Championship Center. Near the end of practice, the Huskers welcomed more than 60 youth from the Lincoln YMCA Community Learning Center to the Hawks Center and treated them to a Husker Family Christmas.

The kids first had an opportunity to watch the final 30 minutes of the Huskers’ afternoon workout. Immediately following practice, the children were able to play on the Hawks Center field for approximately 30 minutes.

Nebraska’s coaching staff and players then shared a Christmas meal with the children. In addition to a Husker gift bag presented by Santa Claus, the youth each received a gift personally chosen and paid for by Nebraska players. Each player was assigned a gift partner and the groups purchased a gift for one of the youth. The event concluded with the players and YMCA Youth singing three Christmas carols.

A monetary gift was also presented to the YMCA Strong Kids Scholarship Program. The money was a combination of monetary gifts by football staff and athletic department staff, with a matching donation by Coach Callahan Charities.

For photos from the event, please vist the web site.

Prior to the post-practice activities, Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove and Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell took time to cover several topics with the area media. Norvell described Saturday’s practice as “high energy” and “high intensity,” despite to the absence of nine Husker seniors who took part in commencement ceremonies.

“We had some guys miss today to walk at graduation, so it gave some of the other guys an opportunity to practice,” Norvell said. “They were really excited. Joe Ganz got all of the reps with the (first-string offense) and did a phenomenal job. It was great for him, and Beau Davis got a lot of reps.”

While Nebraska has not played since the Big 12 Championship Game two weeks ago, Norvell said the squad is still finding ways to keep the level of intensity high at practice.

“We’re just practicing. We’re practicing and putting guys in competitive situations to keep them sharp,” Norvell said. “When those competitive juices get flowing you get a lot of quality work, and that’s what we had today. We had a highly, highly intense Husker (one-on-one) drill today, and everybody was into it. Those young kids don’t get as many opportunities as the older guys, so we were excited about that.”

Cosgrove used his first opportunity Saturday to praise recently hired defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt, who experienced his first practice working with the Huskers during the afternoon.

“He’s fit in very well,” Cosgrove said. “He’s a good guy who knows a lot of guys on our staff. He comes from an outstanding program that has played great defense over the last few years. He’s an impressive guy.”



Adam Carriker is one of nine current Huskers who will earn a degree from the University of Nebraska on Saturday.

Lincoln – Nebraska returned to the practice field Friday after a four-day layoff with a two-hour workout in full pads inside the Hawks Championship Center. New Husker defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt officially joined the team Friday, and Head Coach Bill Callahan welcomed him during a brief press conference following the afternoon’s exercises.

“Buddy comes from the University of Alabama and has an extensive career of coaching defensive linemen. He has done an outstanding job at every stop he has been. We are certainly glad to welcome him to Nebraska. He has all of the things we look for in a complete coach—he can recruit, he can coach, he can motivate and, most importantly, he can put his arm around these kids and take them to a new level. This is an excellent hire for us.”

Wyatt said he was excited to join the Huskers as they prepare for next month’s Cotton Bowl matchup with Auburn in Dallas, Texas.

“First of all, I am excited to be here. When you get into coaching, you dream of coaching at a place like Nebraska. It is rich in tradition. The job Coach Callahan and his staff have done is amazing. When you are in this game, you don’t get to watch everyone play, but I’ve had an opportunity to watch (Nebraska) here and there and I’ve been impressed.”

Callahan also took Friday’s media opportunity to congratulate nine current members of the Husker football team who will receive degrees on Saturday afternoon. Among those football players receiving degrees are quarterback Zac Taylor; defensive lineman Adam Carriker; safety Brandon Rigoni; tight ends Matt Herian and J.B. Phillips; linebacker Stewart Bradley; defensive tackle Ola Dagunduro; defensive end Newt Lingenfelter; and fullback Will Otto.

“I want to commend those players,” Callahan said. “Again, good luck to those guys who finished on time and early and showed that commitment to academics. It is so important.”

Friday’s return to practice also marked the end of the semester. The squad had not held an official full-scale workout since Sunday due to finals week.

“The kids have been off essentially the entire week with the exception of some lifting, running and a little bit of throwing on Tuesday and Thursday. It was just good to get them out on the field. I know they are kind of glad to get back and going again, because they had finals all week.”
The Huskers will hit the practice field again on Saturday before hosting a group of approximately 70 youth from the Lincoln YMCA Community Learning Center after practice for the Husker Family Christmas party.


Ray Hacker is one of two former Husker gymnasts set to graduate this Saturday.

Lincoln – Former Husker men’s gymnasts Ray Hacker and Nick Moore will be among 31 University of Nebraska student-athletes set to receive their degrees during commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Both Hacker and Moore competed for Nebraska from 2003 to 2006, in which time they helped the Huskers to four consecutive NCAA Championship appearances.

After playing a supporting role for NU during his underclass years, Hacker emerged in his senior season as one of Nebraska’s top still rings competitors and earned his first career title on the event against Air Force. Hacker went on to lead Nebraska on the rings at the 2006 NCAA Championships, advancing to the event preliminaries on the apparatus for the first time in his collegiate career.

Moore also made strides in his senior season after battling back from injuries he suffered in his sophomore year. After competing almost exclusively on the pommel horse in his first three seasons, Moore added floor exercise and vaulting duties in his senior year with tremendous success. In fact, the Indianapolis, Ind., native led Nebraska on the vault in 2006, notching two event titles behind a career-high score of 9.45 that launched him as high as seventh in the national vaulting polls.

Hacker will receive his degree in finance on Saturday, while Moore graduates with a degree in history.


Former Husker Kari Hogan is among 31 Husker student-athletes graduating in December.

Lincoln - Former Husker soccer player Kari Hogan will be among 31 University of Nebraska student-athletes set to receive their degrees during commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Hogan played in the midfield for the Huskers from 2002 to 2004 before injury cut her career short during her junior season. Despite being unable to complete her playing eligibility, Hogan made the most of her years as a Husker, starting in 40 contests, including all 22 of Nebraska’s matches in 2003.

Also in 2003, Hogan became known as one of Nebraska’s best set-up players, earning nine assists on the season, the second highest of any Husker that year. Hogan had four assists in one game alone against Iowa State, which ranked second in the NCAA for single-game assists that season.

The following year, Hogan added another assist to give her a career total of 19 points on three goals and 13 assists. In 2005, she continued her dedication to Nebraska soccer as an undergraduate assistant coach for the team.

Hogan graduates from Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer science.


Most of you know Thomas O'Hara through his "Husker in Baghdad" emails. He's also an alum of the UNL Triangle fraternity (Engineers, Architects and Scientists) whose house was taken for a campus improvement project. He sent me the attached ad describing the signs. They are trying to raise funds to pay of the mortgage and repairs for their new house (actually another defunct frat house on campus) by selling these very creative Husker lighted signs. Currently they are sold out of the "N" signs, but have a few "Huskers" signs left. They are trying to find a new manufacturer to create more. Call them directly if you are interested.

Contact Person: Eric Thomsen
Home 308-750-0202 (Preferred)
Work 402-510-6435



* Husker Volleyball - They're No. 1!

Nebraska does it from wire-to-wire. No. 1 all year, capped off with a national championship victory. Be it ever so raucous, there's no place like home for the NU women. Read and comment, please. ALSO: We link to a terrific ESPN video that is worth a look - just for the look on a Husker player who slams home a big 'un against Southern Cal.

* Vigils Bring Out Support And Criticism of Feds' Raids On Meapacking Plants

In the wake of the raid at the Swift & Co. plant in Grand Island, there is support and criticism of the feds' action. This piece will link you to the latest coverage of the story, along with several good video reports. Comment with civility, please.

* Fifteen Indictments From Grand Island Meatpacking Raid

The basic story from the raids last week.


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