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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 31, 1999)
Last month the U.S. National
Volleyball team held an awards ban
quet One award was given to the player
die coaches thought had performed the
best. Another was given by the players.
A third was chosen by both coaches and
Allison Weston won all three.
“(Weston) is as complete a player as
we’ve ever had here,” Nebraska Coach
Terry Pettit said.
Weston’s career stands out as one of
the finest in Nebraska volleyball histo
ry. Far from dominating any single
aspect of the game, her name
appears in almost every cate
gory of offensive and
She is third in career
attacks (3,659) and block
assists (422), fourth in
solo blocks (84), fifth in
hitting percentage “i
(.353.), sixth in service i
aces (119) and eighth M
in digs (913). /m
She hit 28 or §|B
more kills in seven yH
matches and holds nP
the four-game match AI
record with 3 8 kills
against Colorado IB
on Nov. 26,1994.
She led the
Jeam in kills for three years (93-95),
twice for kills per game and blocks (94
95) and once for blocks per game and
hitting percentage (95). She is the No. 3
athlete on the Daily Nebraskan Century
Weston is the only Husker to be
named first-team All-American three
times, was named 1996 AVCA co
national player of the year and is one of
* four Huskers to have had her jersey
Weston also was an integral part of
the 1995 national championship team.
“Winning the national champi
onship in 1995 would have to be the best
thing we accomplished as a team,”
Weston said. “It’s such an amazing feel
ing. It’s something very special that the
team will have forever.”
Weston said she was happy
with her individual perfor
mance but thought any
to the team.
“Volleyball is the epit
ome of a team sport,”
Weston said. “You can’t
afford not to be a team
As an individual,
Weston said she was
proudest of being
twice and All
A good half-hour before practice
begins, Assistant Coach Lori Sippel is
out on smoothing the damp red clay of
the infield at the Husker softball com
From her place in the bleachers, All
American Jennifer Lizama smiled and
said she loves playing for Nebraska
because “Sippel doesn’t have to do
that,” Lizama said.
Cleaning up infields is nothing
new to the assistant coach.
Sippel’s pitching career at ^
NU from 1985-1988 ranks
as probably the greatest Jm
for any softball player in Hi
the history of the school Wmmf
She’s No. 6 on the Daily
Nebraskan century list *
She holds records for W |
best single-season winning M
percentage (.870), earned
run average (0.37), most sin- if
gle season strikeouts (285), and |
is tied with current pitcher N
Jenny Voss for shutouts (14).
In career records, she
holds the title for
most victories (73),
innings pitched .........
(838), shutouts (39), saves (16), com
plete games (80), and no hitters pitched
(6). That’s eight of nine categories for
pitchers. In the ninth, career winning
percentage, Sippel is second at .760
behind Mori Emmons (.816).
Perhaps the greatest moment in
both Sippel’s career on the mound and
in NU softball’s history was in the 1985
World Series. In her first World Series
appearance, Sippel tossed a no-hitter
that sent Louisiana Tech home and
helped NU reach the finals for the first
and only time in its history.
NU did not get to the College World
Series for 11 years after Sippel left NU
“I never thought I was gifted. I
thought I was fortunate,” Sippel
Irk For all the records she
set and games she won
il while playing for NU,
||||f Sippel said the accom
||!||* plishment she is most
fiv proud of was being named
fAj academic All-American
m and NCAA athlete of the
jy year in 1988 for her scholas
1 tic achievements.
L “No one ever talked to me
M about that back then,” Sippel
said. “You were either a
■f jock or you were in
academics. It was my
Wm private goal to do
The Nebraska women’s basket
ball program is now looked at as
one of the top programs in the coun
The Comhuskers have been to
die NCAA tournament for the past
two seasons and have garnered
But it hasn’t always been that way.
At one point, Nebraska went through
six coaches in 12 years. The notoriety
started with Karen Jennings, who is
No. 4 on the Daily Nebraskan Sports
“Every program is built around a
couple of superstars,” former NU
Coach Angela Beck said. “(Jennings)
put Nebraska women’s basketball on
Jennings played at Nebraska from
1989-1993, and played on the first NU
team to win an NCAA tourney game.
In 1993, Jennings was selected as a
Kodak First-Team All-American.
When those 10 players were honored at
the awards ceremony, Jennings made
die acceptance speech on behalf of the
Beck said that personified die type
of person Jennings was.
“She was a perfectionist both on
and off the court,” Beck said. “She was
always looking for ways to broaden her
hi that same year, Jennings was
also awarded the Wade Trophy, which
honors students, and not just athletes.
“I don’t believe I did it sometimes,”
Jennings said. “It amazes me that I did
it. I’ve always been driven to excel.”
Jennings did all this while becom
ing the career leader in scoring, field
goals made and points per game. She is
one of two Huskers to have scored
more than 2,000 points in a career.
“She was the kind of player that
wasn’t the fastest, wasn’t the strongest,
and wasn’t the best athlete,” Beck said.
“But she probably had the best offen
sive skills of any player I coached.”
The view from the university shot
put practice area at the north end of the
State Fair Grounds is typically
Nebraskan. Two grain elevators are on
the horizon, a dirt road runs behind the
shot put circles and a line of stopped
freight cars can be seen to the north.
Views like this one are probably
pretty common around Bloomfield,
Tressa Thompson’s home town.
And noticeably absent in Sydney,
Australia, where Thompson recently
competed in the Optus Grand Prix and
Australian Nationals in the shot put.
She won both events.
Or even around Washington, D.C.,
where five weeks ago, Thompson
threw the second-farthest mark in the
world. At 19.44 meters, the throw was
Thompson’s best so far.
Thompson, the No. 5 female on the
Daily Nebraskan Sports Century list,
has seen the world now. It’s going to be
hard to keep her on the farm.
“Now I’ve got this idea
that I want to kick everyone’s
butt and be the best in the
world,” Thompson said.
A 10-time All-American
while at NU, Thompson has
ranked in the top three
women shot putters in the nation the
last three years and was seventh before
the 1996 Olympic games. She won two
outdoor and one indoor NCAA cham
pionships in 1997 and 1998.
Thompson currently holds the
indoor shot put Big 12 Best,
Big 12 Meet and the NU All >
time records. Outside, she
holds the NCAA meet, Jp
Big 12 Best, Big 12 Meet
and the NU all-time vll
Thompson said she |I
always had a strong arm, o
but still struggled her fresh- |
man year. Although she got "
to nationals, Thompson
finished dead last.
her first and
throwing style from a glide - a style
that concentrates all a thrower’s power
in one push - to a spinning throw.
Spinning around in the thrower’s ring,
she’s able to build momentum before
releasing the shot.
Equipped with a new style,
Thompson stepped up her junior year,
winning both the indoor and outdoor
national championships in the shot put.
“My junior year, it all just started
clicking,” Thompson said.
The 1998 NCAA
-hampionships in Buffalo,
N.Y., was the scene of
Thompson’s best collegiate
^ win. Going against
i archrival Terry Tunks,
r Thompson found herself in
a back-and-forth battle for
Tunks, a Nebraska native
vho competed for Southern
[ethodist, both threw five
rounds before Thompson
finally triumphed, tak
ing her third nation
"‘It was one of
my best wins ever,”
Lisa Reitsma climbed into the
ranks of Nebraska volleyball history
by proving herself one of the most pro
lific attackers to wear a Husker jersey.
Reitsma, whose career spanned
from 1994-97, ranks second on NU
records in career kills with 1,633 and
career attacks with 3,766. Reitsma
played basketball this winter for
Nebraska as well.
Her contributions have earned her
the No. 7 spot on the Daily Nebraskan
Sports Century list.
Reitsma said she came to NU a
strong attacker, but judging from the
work she put in during her first year,
she wasn’t strong enough.
“Lisa spent a lot of extra time her
freshman year becoming a strong
attacker,” NU Coach Terry Pettit said.
Under the strong leadership of
seniors, Reitsma said she grew during
her freshman year.
“Things just started to click for
me,” Reitsma said.
If things were clicking for Reitsma
after her first year, they were booming
after her third. Reitsma’s 1996 season
stands out as probably one of the most
impressive campaigns in NU history.
Her 1,468 attacks are second on the
Big 12 single-season record list, and
she’s third in kills (611). Her ’96 num
bers top the NU single-season records
in total attacks, attacks per game
(12.13), kills and kills per game (5.05)
She was named most valuable
player on the NCAA regional All
Tournament team, was a unanimous
Big 12 first team selection and 1996
b a i 1 QA
of the jnp
When Nebraska Softball
Coach Rhonda Revelle started
her job, the very first recruiting
phone call she made was to Ali
Viola became the first of
Revelle’s recruits, blowing away
the old saying that starts with “if
at first you don’t succeed,”,
because Revelle did, picking up
the No. 8 female on the Daily
Nebraskan Century list.
“First and foremost,”
Revelle said, “Ali was bom with
a natural gift for the game. She
was aleader by example and her
stats speak for themselves.”
Viola holds seven career
records, including home runs
(53), runs batted in (213) and
total bases (478). Viola ranks
second in three categories and
holds the single season Big 12
Conference record for home
Because of her numbers,
Viola was named an All
American three times, the only
Husker to have this honor. Last
season, she was part of the first
NU team since 1988 to go to the
softball College World Series.
“I still feel like I am a
Comhusker,” Viola said. “I still
carry it around with me. I took
away a lot of things from
Nebraska that I am using now.”
Lori Endicott made her
marie on volleyball as a sport in
a way that perhaps no other
Her four years at Nebraska
led to six appearances on the
U.S. National team and two
Olympic appearances, a series
of accomplishments that estab
lishes her place at No. 9 on the
Daily Nebraskan Sports
After helping the national
team to a bronze-medal perfor
mance in 1992, Endicott was
named the best setter in the
world. She participated in the
1996 Olympics in Atlanta
before leaving the team.
“I think she is the best setter
this country has ever had,” NU
Volleyball Coach Terry Pettit
said. “She is certainty the player
that other players have to mea
sure up to.”
While at Nebraska,
Endicott was a two-time All
American and three-time All
Big Eight player. She was
named Big Eight player of die
year in 1987 and 1988 and
GTE/CoSIDA Academic All
She led the team in assists
in 1987 and 1988 and is fourth
in career set assists with3,117.
“I don’t believe I would’ve
made it as far as I have were it
not for the tradition and success
ofNebraska,” Endicott said.
In the future, Fiona Nepo
wants to be a teacher and a
For now, she is going to have
to settle for being one of the
most successful volleyball play
ers in Nebraska history and the
•wogtan on the Daily
in Sports Century list
fen I have children ih a
few years,” Nepo said, “I want to
be able to go through the record
books and have them say, ‘Ooh,
look what Mommy did.”
When Nepo’s future chil
dren see what their mother
achieved, the records may still
be as impressive as they are now.
Nepo, who finished her career
this past fall, put together a
resume that stacks up with the
great setters who donned the
scarlet and cream.
Nepo played on three teams
that went to the Final Four,
including the Comhusker team
that won the national champi
onship in 1995.
At the end of this season,
Nepo’s 4,824 career assists
ended up shattering the previous
mark of 3,786 set by Nikki
Strieker in 1993.
“(Fiona) had the total pack
age,” NU Volleyball Coach
Terry Pettit said. “She certainly
is among the group of great set
ters we’ve had here.”
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