Big Ten coaches favor Nebraska to win third straight title; Two Huskers make preseason all-conference

Big Ten coaches favor Nebraska to win third straight title; Two Huskers make preseason all-conference
Mikeaela Foecke, a second-team All-American, led the Huskers in kills and service aces last season. (JULIA NAGY/THE WORLD-HERALD)

LINCOLN — The Nebraska volleyball team has won two straight Big Ten titles, and despite the loss of four starters from last year’s team, conference coaches believe the Huskers will make it three in a row.

Nebraska, ranked No. 2 nationally in the preseason coaches poll, is the preseason pick to win the Big Ten, according to a vote of the league coaches released Tuesday morning. In addition, NU’s two senior captains, outside hitter Mikaela Foecke and libero Kenzie Maloney, made the 14-player preseason All-Big Ten team.

Wisconsin was picked as league runner-up followed by Minnesota, Penn State, and Illinois.

Foecke, one of six unanimous picks for the preseason all-conference team, was a second-team All-American last season and shared the final four’s Most Outstanding Player honor with former Husker setter Kelly Hunter. Foecke led the team last year in kills (441) and services aces (39) in her first season playing all six rotations.

Maloney was one of two liberos on the preseason All-Big Ten team, joining Penn State’s Kendall White. The Husker senior from Louisville, Kentucky, had 452 digs a year ago and set the school’s postseason record with 13 aces in the NCAA tournament, including four in NU’s five-set win over Penn State in the national semifinals. She was named to the NCAA’s All-Tournament team.

Minnesota had three players picked for the all-conference team, the most of any school. Coaches selected the Gophers’ senior setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson, sophomore outside hitter Stephanie Samedy and junior outside hitter Alexis Hart for the preseason honor.

Wisconsin, Penn State, and Illinois joined Nebraska with two players each on the preseason team with Iowa, Michigan, and Purdue each getting one player selected.

The Huskers will play their annual Red-White intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Devaney Center.

Click here to see the complete preseason poll and All-Big Ten team.

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