All-American Melissa Elmer led a balanced attack, as top-ranked Nebraska rolled into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 30-15, 30-12, 30-19 victory over Iona Friday evening at the NU Coliseum.
"> All-American Melissa Elmer led a balanced attack, as top-ranked Nebraska rolled into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 30-15, 30-12, 30-19 victory over Iona Friday evening at the NU Coliseum.

Husker Volleyball team Advance with Sweep of Iona

<P><FONT face="Times New Roman" size="2">All-American Melissa Elmer led a balanced attack, as top-ranked Nebraska rolled into the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 30-15, 30-12, 30-19 victory over Iona Friday evening at the NU Coliseum.<BR></FONT>

The Huskers (28-1) will meet Wichita State, a 3-0 winner over Nevada earlier Friday, in the second round Saturday night at 7 p.m. The match will be carried state-wide on Nebraska Educational Television, as well as carried on the Pinnacle Sports Radio Network.

Melissa Elmer finished the evening with a game-high 12 kills on .550 hitting, as the Huskers, who have won 25 straight matches, hit .381 as a team and held Iona to .026 hitting.

While Elmer was the only Husker with double figures in kills, Nebraska used its whole bench, as 10 of the 13 players on the Nebraska roster recorded at least one kill, including walk-on Emily Schroeder, whose first career kill put the finishing touches on Nebraska's 57th NCAA tourney victory. Jennifer Saleaumua nearly totaled a double-double with nine kills on .364 hitting and 10 digs, while Ally Rebholz and Sarah Pavan added seven kills each. Rehbolz's previous season high was five kills against Baylor on Oct. 6.

Miki Hogg led Iona with 12 kills on .333 hitting as the Gaels, making their first NCAA Tournament appearance, finished the year with a 19-16 record.

Nebraska wasted little time taking command, scoring eight of the first 10 points in the match en route to a 30-15 victory in the opener. The Huskers hit .450 as a team, while Pavan had six kills on just nine swings, while Elmer and Christina Houghtelling added four kills each in game one.

In game two, the serving of Michelle Lynch sparked the Huskers' 30-12 win. Leading 9-3, Lynch served nine straight points, including a pair of service aces, as Nebraska pushed the lead to 18-3 and cruised to the win. Lynch had two of the Huskers' eight seven service aces in the win.

Iona stayed with NU in the early stages of game four, taking a 7-6 lead before Nebraska responded with seven unanswered points, capped by a block of Morgan Young by Tracy Stalls and Dani Busboom, the fourth Husker block in a five-point run. Nebraska continued to extend the lead and capped the match with Schroeder's first career kill.

Nebraska Head Coach John Cook
On the match
It was good to get the first match of the NCAA Tournament out of the way.  Our team came out focused.  We did a good job with Iona.  They're a different team.  It was fun to see Iona's enthusiasm.  But now we have to get refocused, because we have a tough match tomorrow against Wichita State.

On how playing Iona affected the Huskers
You can't jump as high on your blocks.  They're more of a finesse team.  All week, we talked about protecting the edges, and we did.  Iona competed hard, but we played well. 

On Nebraska's play throughout the match
We had several big runs, especially with the serve, in all games.  It was great to see our team play that way.  This is a team on a mission.

On Wichita State
They pass well.  They're a good side out team because they have three attackers, two of whom are fast.  So when they're able to pass, it's tough to defend against them because you basically have to go against them one-on-one.  They're a lot like Texas Tech, except they're bigger, stronger and more athletic than the Red Raiders.  We have to serve and pass well.  Wichita State came out ready to play tonight.

On the other semifinal match (Wichita State over Nevada in three games)
Wichita State played well tonight, and Nevada didn't realize they were playing in an NCAA Tournament match.

Sarah Pavan
On the difference between playing against Iona and most teams on NU's schedule
They are a lot slower than we're used too.  They mix in a whole lot of different shots and have a lot less power.  We came out and played our game tonight.

On kill off Iona overpass
I was excited for the overpass, because you don't get a lot of overpasses at this level on my side.  It was probably one of the better chances for a kill that I've had in my life.  Getting that chance is a one-shot deal.

On NU's focus
We are really focused right now.  We realize every match could be our last.  We know that if we don't play with everything we have, the next day, it all could be over.  But we've embraced that attitude.  We're on a mission. 

On playing in her first NCAA Tournament match
I knew that it was a little different playing in the NCAA Tournament.  It was great to play at the Coliseum, because there's nowhere in the nation better to play. 

Melissa Elmer
On adjusting to playing against Iona
It's hard to play these types of matches.  You just have to focus on your side of the net.  The adjustments to our blocking were hard to make.  But overall, we played great.

On NU's focus
Since the loss to Florida A&M early in the year, our team has been focused every match.  We've gone out and played to win, instead of playing not to lose.  You can't play not to lose.

Jennifer Saleaumua
On Nebraska's adjustments to Iona
We started out well and we got ahead quickly.

On Nebraska's mindset
It helps when the coaches are constantly reminding us to play to win.

Iona Coach Kris Zeiter
Opening Statement
I would like to start by saying thank you to the University of Nebraska. This was an amazing experience. I have been in volleyball my whole life, and I have never seen anything like this. We were treated very nicely the entire trip.

On the players reaction to playing at Nebraska
They reacted how I thought they would. They were nervous at first, but then it turned into enthusiasm. We played better as they game went on.

On Nebraska's players
They were much larger, must stronger. They were bigger, better and very impressive.

Emily Mansur
On playing in the NCAA Tournament
It was such a good experience. The fans were amazing. In New York we get about 100 fans.

On Nebraska's quest for the national title
We want them to win. Then we can say we lost to the national champions.

Miki Hogg
On playing in the NCAA Tournament
It was amazing. It is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

On her expectations for this match
We came in underdogs. But we wanted to have fun and make it the best experience possible.

Chelsea White
On playing in the NCAA Tournament
It was an awesome experience.

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