The second-ranked Nebraska volleyball team opens the 2018 season with a pair of top-20 matches this weekend at the VERT Challenge at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers host No. 7 Florida on Friday at 6 p.m. in a rematch of the 2017 NCAA Championship match. On Saturday, Nebraska will face No. 18 Oregon at 6 p.m. The VERT Challenge is in its fourth year of its cycle. Texas will also play in the tournament this weekend. .
About the Huskers • The Huskers are 3-3 all-time in the VERT Challenge. Nebraska lost both matches last season in Gainesville, Florida, 3-1 to Oregon and 3-2 to Florida. The Gators are 5-1 all-time in the tournament, while Texas is 3-3 and Oregon is 1-5. • Nebraska is no stranger to national title rematches early the next season. After Nebraska beat Texas in the 2015 national title match, the teams had a rematch at the VERT Challenge in Eugene, Oregon in 2016. Nebraska won the rematch, 3-0, the same result as the 2015 championship match.
Last season, Nebraska beat Florida, 3-1, to win the NCAA crown in Kansas City, Missouri. • The second-ranked Huskers won the 2017 NCAA title, their second national championship in three years. NU finished 32-4 overall and also won a second straight Big Ten title, sharing top honors with Penn State. • This year’s NU squad will aim to reach the final four for a fourth consecutive year, which would be a first in program history. NU also hasn’t won three straight conference titles since 2006-08 in the Big 12. • Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney were preseason All-Big Ten selections. Foecke is a two-time NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player and led Nebraska in kills last year with 3.53 per set. Maloney was an NCAA All-Tournament team selection and led NU in digs last year with 3.62 per set.