Head coach John Cook spoke with us, and is as confident as you would expect a defending champ to be. With a significant amount of returning players with an additional year of experience, we may see some great things from Nebraska again. Read on to see what coach Cook had to say.
HERO: Which players will log significant minutes for your team this year?
Coach Cook: There are many talented returning players, including All-Americans Kadie Rolfzen, Amber Rolfzen and Justine Wong-Orantes. Mikaela Foecke and Kelly Hunter received honorable mention last season and are back as well.
HERO: What will be the biggest difference between this year's team and last year's team?
Cook: Last year the goal was to reach the NCAA semifinals in Omaha, just 60 minutes up the road from Lincoln. After winning the NCAA Championship, the goal is obviously to achieve that feeling again. There will be a target on our backs as defending champions.
HERO: Which newcomer(s) do you think will make the biggest impact for your team this season?
Cook: Lauren Stivrins and Hunter Atherton are the two new freshmen, but junior middle blocker Briana Holman is eligible after sitting out last season. She was an All-American at LSU. And graduate transfer Andie Malloy will look to help out at outside hitter.
HERO: Which player(s) do you expect to lead the team this season? Please name the captains if you know them.
Cook: The strong senior class of the Rolfzen twins and Justine Wong-Orantes will lead the team, as well as returning captain and setter Kelly Hunter.
HERO: Is there one game you have circled on your calendar as your "Game of the Year"?
Cook: Every match in the Big Ten is tough. Every team comes to play every night. The season will begin with a strong test right off the bat against top-10 teams Florida and Texas.
HERO: Is there anything else you want fans to know about your team?
Cook: We’re excited for the season and looking forward to getting started.
(photos courtesy of Nebraska Athletics)