Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 3, 1998)
Utah, ISU ready for NCAAs
By Andrew Strnad
Nebraska volleyball fans are
regarded across the country as some
of the most knowledgeable in the
Two coaches who know about
Cornhusker fans hope to show the
expected 4.200 fans at the NU
Coliseum on Fndav
Utah VS. night what vollev
c* bal1 1S !lke outside
Illinois St. the Big 12
‘'(NT's) crowd is very similar to
our crowd in the way that it recog
nizes good rallies.” Illinois State
Coach Julie Morgan said. "Their
crowd is loud and very knowledge
The NCAA volleyball tourna
ment begins Thursday night, but the
festivities don't begin in Lincoln until
Friday at 5 p.m. when Utah (20-9)
meets Illinois State (22-9). Morgan
State (18-14) will meet Nebraska
(26-1) at 7:30 p.m.
Both the Utes and the Redbirds
enter the tournament as at-large
Illinois State hails from the
Missouri Valley Conference, finish
ing second to Northern Iowa.
“Our team feels very good for
being an at-large team because it says
a little bit more for our conference
than people think,” Morgan said. “It
shows that we had to earn it and
didn’t get it automatically”
Illinois State is no stranger to the
NCAA tournament; the team quali
fied for the fifth time in the 1990s.
The six-time MVC coach of the
year is also no stranger to the NU
Despite the coliseum’s sometimes
intimidating surroundings, Morgan
said her team's preparation, namely a
tough nonconference schedule, has
prepared the Redbirds for matches in
The Redbirds played seven tour
nament teams during out-of-confer
ence play this season.
Utah is new to the NCAA.
In her ninth season, Utah Coach
Beth Launiere finally made it to
where she wanted to be when she
took the job in Salt Lake City.
“This was my No. 1 goal, and now
I couldn’t be happier,” Launiere said.
After consecutive 20-win seasons
in the ultra-competitive Western
Athletic Conference, Launiere’s Utes
are on their way to Lincoln for the
school's first appearance in the
“I love Lincoln, Nebraska,”
Launiere said. “It didn’t matter where
we went. I’m just excited about
Lincoln because of the great volley
ball environment up there.”
Launiere, who is a longtime
friend of Morgan’s, also said noncon
ference wins over teams like
Louisville and Notre L 'me helped
her team earn an at-larg election.
“We feel we’re battle-tested,”
Friday’s meeting will be the first
time Utah and Illinois State have met
since 1990 and the fifth meeting
overall. The winner will meet the
Morgan State/Nebraska winner
Pettit, Nepo win
All-Big 12 honors
■ Megan Korver and
Nancy Meendering make
first team; Jaime Krondak
is honorable mention.
By Shannon Heffelfinger
Senior staff writer
Big 12 Conference volleyball
coaches tabbed Nebraska Volleyball
Coach Terry Pettit as league coach
and NU setter Fiona Nepo as player
of the year Tuesday.
NU middle blocker Megan
Korver and right-side hitter Nancy
Meendering also are on the first
team. Both were unanimous selec
Senior outside hitter Jaime
Krondak earned honorable-mention
The recognition pleased Pettit.
“The only difference on my ballot
was that I had Jaime on the first
team,” Pettit said. “She is playing at
an All-Big 12 level, and she really
deserved to make the first team.
“But I’m very happy that Fiona
was named the MVP because she is
very deserving of it. And Megan and
Nancy have played well, too, so I'm
happy with it.”
But Pettit said he was surprised to
win coach-of-the-year honors.
“I voted for Lori Corbelli at
A&M,” Pettit said. “They have done a
wonderful job this season. But the
award is a reflection on our entire
staff and team.”
The Cornhuskers own a 28-1
overall record and 19-1 conference
mark. No. 3 NU earned a No. 1 seed
in the NCAA Tournament Pacific
Region and begins tournament play
Friday against Morgan State at the
NU Coliseum. NU will play the win
ner of the Utah-Illinois State match if
it defeats the Honey Bears.
Please see AWARDS on 10
Williams more vocal,
effective in NU attack
By Shannon Heffelfinger
Senior staff writer
Nicoie Kubik shakes her head and
smiles when she thinks about one of the few
times her normally quiet teammate Monet
Williams has veiled at her on the basketball
"It was kind of weird." Kubik said.
An audible sound from Williams quali
fies as an atypical event to many of the out
spoken Comhuskers. Williams often sits by
herself on the team bus, her ears covered by
the headphones she constantly wears.
But the senior guard broke out of her
silent role with a bang during NU's 2-1 run
through the Rambow Wahine Classic from
Nov. 27 to 29 in
first game of her
career in a 85-66 win
over St. John’s,
Williams scored 10
points and had 13
Husker Coach Paul
Sanderford said, was
ence really showed
and I was impressed
with her ability to keep things under control
for us,” Sanderford said. “She’s still too
quiet. But she’s been pushing herself to get
Williams, who calls herself the quietest
person on the team, has struggled to find her
voice since coming to Nebraska pnor to the
1997 season. Recruited by former NU
Coach Angela Beck after two years at
Norfolk’s Northeast Community College.
Williams was left m limbo during the coach’s
departure and Sanderford s extended hinng
process. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native placed
sparingly during die 1997 season.
“It was hard to feel part of the team
when I wasn ’t playing that much," Williams
fhen. halfway through the season.
Williams experienced one of the most diffi
cult times in her life when her roommate and
best friend on the team, freshman center
Amanda Cleveland was diagnosed with
aplastic anemia, a mre and life-threatening
Cleveland, who has since returned to
Lincoln, spent the rest of the season at home
in Lancaster, Texas, while Williams tried to
fit in w ithout her friend.
“I was so shocked when I heard what
had happened to Amanda,” Williams said.
"We were really close, and it was really hard.
I wanted to be there to support her. And I
needed her here to support me. It hurt me
It also helped to spark a change in
“I realized that I had to take everything
in my life more seriously,” Williams said.
"Every day is a chance for me to play bas
ketball, but what if I was in a car accident
tomorrow and injured my leg? I have
_ learned a lot from
/\maiiua anu vvnai
happened to her.”
One month later,
as the Huskers were
ending the season,
Williams she could
play more as a senior
if she stayed in
improved her overall
skills. Williams did
and her dedication
has paid off.
“I said at the first
press conference of
the vpar that shp
might be the most improved player on the
team this season,” Sanderford said. “Monet
worked very hard this summer. Her work
ethic is very much improved - she always
had the talent. And her knowledge of the
system has grown”
Sanderford now relies on Williams -
who averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 boards per
game last year - to stop opponents’ best
offensive guard and provide floor leadership.
Williams credits Sanderford for helping
her game improve. She feels more comfort
able on the court because he shows confi
dence in her.
The coach has only one complaint about
the much-improved Williams.
“She's a little too quiet," he said.
W ilhams said she's working on it, but
she doesn’t want to take things too far.
‘1 talk so softly that when 1 yell, every
one's pretty surprised,” Williams said. “If I
talk much more. I think people might be in
Her work ethic is very>
much improved - she
always had the talent.
And her knowledge of
the system has grown.”
NU basketball coach
SB H i IBev | \
DN File Photo
NEBRASKA GUARD MONET WILLIAMS fights for a rebound against two Victorian A.i-$tars opponents in an
exhibition game last season. Williams had her first career double-double against St. John’s on Saturday
Powered by Open ONI