Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook announced the addition of three student-athletes to the Husker volleyball program for the 2018 season on Friday. Former Husker setter Brooke Smith will return to the Husker program for her senior season, while junior setter Mari Kurkova and freshman defensive specialist/libero Chen Abramovich will also join the defending NCAA and Big Ten champion Huskers. Smith was a back-up setter as a freshman for the Huskers in 2015 during NU’s national title run, and she was a serving specialist in 2016, producing nine aces in 18 matches played in her two seasons at Nebraska. The 5-10 Weatherford, Texas native transferred to Kansas State for the 2017 season, where she split time at setter and averaged 4.71 assists per set and 1.71 digs per set. She was second on the team with 27 total aces and led the team in aces per set with 0.27. Smith, who will train as a setter, had a season-high 29 assists in a five-set match at Georgia Tech on Sept. 8, and she had three double-doubles on the season. “Brooke found out she missed Nebraska and the relationships she built in her first two years here,” Cook said. “She is a great addition to our team because she is such a hard worker, great teammate and a player everyone really respects. We are very excited to have Brooke back for her final season.” Kurkova is a native of Opava, Czech Republic and played club volleyball for PVK Olymp Praha while attending Přípotoční High School. A 5-11 setter, Kurkova has been a part of the Czech Republic women’s national team and played in the 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix. Kurkova played with the Czech Republic women’s national team in the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix and was part of the U20 team that competed in the 2015 World Championship. Kurkova, who has completed a bachelor’s degree, will be a graduate transfer with two seasons of eligibility. “After Hunter Atherton’s transfer we began looking for another setter, and we found out about Mari and started the process,” Cook said. “She is unique in that she is a grad student, so she will be working on a master’s degree for the next two years. We felt that she would be a good fit at Nebraska because she has experience, she knows what she wants, and there is also a great Czech population in the state of Nebraska.” Abramovich is a 5-6 freshman defensive specialist/libero from Kfar Saba, Israel. She played club volleyball for Hapoel Kfar Saba last season and led her team to the ISR National Championship. Hapoel Kfar Saba reached the second round of the CEV Champions League and finished 16th in the CEV Volleyball Cup. Abramovich competed with the Israel Junior National Team at the 2016 European Championship. “Chen approached us about playing volleyball at Nebraska once she completed her army commitment,” Cook said. “Chen comes from a strong volleyball family, and her mom is a national hero for starting the Mother’s Volleyball League in Israel, and now it has spread all over the world. Chen played in a league that played with international rules where the libero is not allowed to serve, but she has seen a lot of tough serves and will be a great addition to our back row.” The Huskers begin the 2018 season with the Red/White Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at Huskers.com/tickets or by calling 402-472-3111.
Former Pacific Tiger and utility player Samantha Owen will join the Nebraska softball team in the fall announced Head Coach Rhonda Revelle on Thursday. A junior, Owen has two seasons of eligibility left with the Huskers and will be able to compete immediately. In 2018, Owen started 46 of the Tigers' 47 games and led the team with 53 hits. She hit .382, recorded seven home runs, 37 RBIs and finished the season with a slugging percentage of .600. In West Coast Conference play, Owen finished in the top five in the conference in batting average, slugging, RBIs, doubles and total bases, helping her claim first-team All-WCC honors. She also earned NFCA All-West Region Third-Team honors. As a freshman, Owen was named to the All-WCC honorable mention team, after appearing in all but four games for the Tigers. She registered 36 hits and hit .259. She scored 19 runs and had 16 RBIs. She also led all freshmen with four homers. The Manteca, Calif., native was a standout at East Union High School. She was named the Stockton Record All-Area Player of the Year, in addition to earning VOL MVP and FLO Softball All-American accolades. Owen helped the Lancers claim the state title as a senior, posting a .507 batting average. Off the field, Owens was a standout in the classroom as well, graduating with Cum Laude honors.
Nebraska wide receiver JD Spielman earned his second watch list recognition Thursday morning, as he was named to the Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse watch list. The Hornung Award is presented to the most versatile player in major college football. Spielman, who was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list last week, showed his versatility during a record-breaking freshman season which saw him earn All-Big Ten recognition at both wide receiver and kickoff returner. He hauled in 55 passes for 830 yards and a pair of scores, establishing school freshman marks in receptions, receiving yards, 100-yard receiving games (two) and all-purpose yards (1,572). Spielman ranked first or second among all FBS freshmen in receiving yards, receiving yards per game, catches and all-purpose yards in 2017. His redshirt freshman season was highlighted by establishing Nebraska’s single-game receiving yards record with a 200-yard performance against ninth-ranked Ohio State. In conference play, Spielman became just the second Big Ten freshman since 1985 to lead the league in receiving yards per game during the conference season (88.1). He tied Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor for second in the Big Ten with an average of 157.8 all-purpose yards per game in league play and was fifth in catches per game. Spielman will look to be NU’s first-ever Hornung Award winner, as Ameer Abdullah was a finalist for the award in 2014.
Junior punter Caleb Lightbourn garnered recognition Wednesday, as he was named to the 2018 Ray Guy Award preseason watch list. The Ray Guy Award, named after College and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Ray Guy, is presented to the nation’s top punter.
Lightbourn, a two-year starter from Washougal, Wash., is one of 27 players on the watch list released Wednesday. As a sophomore, he averaged 42.1 yards per punt while placing 21 of his 59 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. He averaged a career-best 48.0 yards per punt against No. 9 Ohio State and had a career-long 68-yard punt against No. 9 Wisconsin. In all, he averaged 2.4 yards more per punt in 2017 than as a freshman and tallied 13 punts of 50 yards or more. The three finalists will be announced in November with the winner being announced on the College Football Awards show on Dec. 6.
KANSAS CITY, MO – The National Association of Basketball Coaches announced today the matchups for the championship round of the 2018 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker. All four games of the Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker at Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO., will be aired live on ESPN networks.
On Monday, November 19, Nebraska will take on Missouri State at 6 pm CT on ESPNU, followed by USC and Texas Tech at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN2. On Tuesday, November 20, the consolation game will tip off at 6 pm CT on ESPN3, followed by the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker championship game at 8:30pm ET on ESPN2.
Tickets for the championship round games at Sprint Center will be available beginning at 10:00am CT on August 4th by visitingwww.halloffameweekend.com,www.axs.com, by phone at 888-929-7849, or in person at Sprint Center Box Office.
The Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker will be the culminating event of college basketball’s Hall of Fame Weekend, which also includes the 13th annual induction ceremony for the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. That event will take place on Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in Kansas City.
---- CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS ----
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Mo.
Monday, November 19 – 6:00 PM CT
Nebraska vs. Missouri State (ESPNU)
USC vs. Texas Tech (ESPN2)
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Mo.
Tuesday, November 20 – 6:00 PM CT
Consolation Game (ESPN3)
Championship Game (ESPN2)
Those four schools will serve as the four host round participants for this year’s Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker, with the opening round games of the tournament beginning on November 6th. Each of those teams will play two games on campus, before advancing to the championship rounds in Kansas City. Joining the four host teams in the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker are Mississippi Valley State, Robert Morris, Southeastern Louisiana and Stetson. The complete list of games for the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic Powered by Shot Tracker are as follows:
---- HOST ROUNDS ----
Springfield Regional Rounds
JQH Arena – Springfield, MO
Friday, November 9 – Time TBD
Robert Morris at Missouri State
Sunday, November 11 – Time TBD
Stetson at Missouri State
Lubbock Regional Rounds
United Supermarkets Arena– Lubbock, TX
Friday, November 9 – Time TBD
Mississippi Valley State at Texas Tech
Tuesday, November 13 – Time TBD
Southeastern Louisiana at Texas Tech
Lincoln Regional Rounds
Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, NE
Tuesday, November 6 – Time TBD
Mississippi Valley State at Nebraska
Sunday, November 11 – Time TBD
Southeastern Louisiana at Nebraska
Los Angeles Regional Rounds
Galen Center – Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, November 6 – Time TBD
Robert Morris at USC
Wednesday, November 14 – Time TBD
Stetson at USC
North Platte – The North Platte Community College Knights basketball have announced the rosters for the 12th Annual Mid-Plains Area Basketball All-Star Games, which will be held Friday, June 8 at the McDonald - Belton Gymnasium on the South Campus of North Platte Community College.
The Girl’s Gold team consists of Emily Arnold from Amherst; Shaley Petersen from Bayard; Kati Moore from Cambridge; Payje Misegadis from Creek Valley; Sydney Wolken from Hershey; Ashlynn Schmaderer from Kearney Catholic; Grace Koubek from Maywood/Hayes Center; Hope Stone and Rachel Lashley from Medicine Valley; Sami Mauch from North Platte; Cassi Bose from Southern Valley; and Bailee Fear from Sutherland. Missy Koenen from Creek Valley and Michael Jorgenson from Hershey will be coaching the Girl’s Gold team
On the Girl’s Black team, it consists of Madison Christophersen from Brady; Samantha Schmid from Creek Valley; Jasmine Youngquist from Hitchcock County; Haylee Evans and Mari Farr from Medicine Valley; Janessa Madsen from Minden; Katy Hansen and Kyilee Elsten from North Platte; Maggie Earl from Perkins County; Hannah Higgins from Sandhills/Thedford ;and Ansley Wood and Hannah Nelson from Wallace. The Girl’s Black team will be coached by Michael Buchanan from Wallace and Derek Bantam from Medicine Valley.
The Boy’s Gold team consists of Colton Lovitt from Brady; Mason McMeen from Broken Bow; Paul White from Maywood/Hayes Center; Hunter Potthoff from McCook; Luke Christen from Mullen; Christian Ramos and Zavion Mitchell from North Platte; Dawson Helmer, Ryan Fox, and Treyton Hebblethwaite from Paxton; and Tyler Heiss from St. Pat's. Jimmie Pack from North Platte High School will be coaching the Boy’s Gold Team.
The Boy’s Black team consists of Corbin Mironenko from Arthur County; Bryce Burry from Bayard; Padyn Borders from Broken Bow; Tyler Johnson from Hershey; Wesley Wach from Maywood/Hayes Center; Clayton Stevens from McCook; Grant Edgecombe from Minden; Jeff Storer from Paxton; Connor Dormann from Sidney; Cade Connell from South Loup; Chaston Burgeson from Southern Valley; and Gary White III from St. Pat's. Jeff Cole from South Loup will be coaching the Boy’s Black team. The Girl’s game will begin at 6 p.m., with the boy’s game to follow at 7:45 pm
Admission is $5.00 and can be purchased at the door. ESPN 1410 Radio will be broadcasting the games and on the Internet at www.northplattepost.com. They will also be livestreamed at www.npccknights.com.