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Husker volleyball is in Southwest Nebraska this weekend as NU plays its lone 2019 spring match against Colorado State at the McCook Community College Graff Events Center in McCook at 1 p.m on Saturday. Doors to the match will open at 11:30 a.m. The Husker volleyball players will sign autographs following the match. The trip to McCook continues Nebraska’s tradition of touring the state for spring volleyball matches. The Huskers played Colorado State in Kearney in 2017 and have also made recent visits to Grand Island, Wayne, Norfolk and Ogallala.
Nebraska is coming off a 2018 season in which it reached the NCAA Final Four for the fourth straight year, a first in program history. The Huskers were the NCAA Runner-Up after dropping a five-set match to Stanford in Minneapolis. NU returns five starters from last year’s team, including first-team All-American Lauren Stivrins. The 6-4 middle blocker averaged 2.36 kills and 1.17 blocks per set while hitting .421 last season, the third-highest mark in school history. Setter Nicklin Hames earned All-America honorable mention as a freshman and was a Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection along with middle blocker Callie Schwarzenbach.
Colorado State went 23-8 last season and won the Mountain West Conference title with a 15-3 record. The Rams qualified for the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to Tennessee, 3-2, in the first round. Colorado State had no seniors on its roster last season and returns every starter, including All-America honorable-mention selections Katie Oleksak and Kirstie Hillyer. Oleksak, a 5-10 setter, is a two-time Mountain West Player of the Year. Hillyer, a 6-6 middle blocker, averaged 3.04 kills, 1.23 blocks and hit .363 last season. North Platte native Olivia Nicholson is a member of the Rams squad as well.