John Cook

The Nebraska volleyball team returns to Lincoln, Nebraska on Sunday for an exciting day, in order to retire the jersey of former Husker Sarah Pavan.

Pavan played for Nebraska from 2004-2008 under coach John Cook. She is one of Nebraska’s most decorated athletes and one of the most accomplished professional volleyball players in the world. Pavan currently plays around the world, traveling week after week. Cook said during his press conference on Monday that the weekends just lined up for this to be the one to retire the jersey.

“We have been working on this for so many years to get her back,” Cook said. “And not only is she getting her jersey retired, but she is getting inducted into the hall of fame here with Coach Osborne and Coach Devaney, so I don’t know how you have any bigger compliment than that.”

Pavan earned a number of honors in her four years as a Husker. She was a two-time Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year, three-time Big 12 Player of the Year from 2005-2007, four-time First-Team All-Big 12 and 2006-2007 Big 12 Conference Female Athlete of the Year, among others.

She holds three school records including most career kills with 2,008, most career kills-per-game with 4.56 and the single-season record for most kills-per-game at 5.10 in 2006.

Pavan is an athlete Cook never will forget. He saw her passion on and off the court in her studies. She was a two-time ESPN the Magazine Volleyball Academic All-American of the Year and a three-time First-Team Academic All-Big 12.

“She is one of the most competitive players I have ever coached,” Cook said.

Pavan is one of seven being inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 7, and will get to watch her alma mater take on former Big 12 foe Iowa State on Sunday.

The Cyclones are currently 5-2 after facing two ranked teams so far this season. Iowa State has been ranked for most of the season thus far, but was bumped out of the rankings last week after their loss to No. 22 Utah. Iowa State will also be taking on No. 14 Creighton this weekend, meeting their third ranked opponent this season.

The Cyclones are hitting .256 percent compared to their opponents only hitting .169 percent. They also hit more service aces than their opponents, serving 31 aces on the season versus 27 by their opponents.

Compared to Nebraska, the Iowa State Cyclones can hold their ground. The Huskers are hitting .252 on the season and serving 32 service aces as well. Defensively, the Cyclones are out-blocking the Huskers, averaging 2.94 blocks-per-set compared to 2.5 for Nebraska.

On paper, Iowa State appears to pose a challenge for the Huskers, but the mental battle between the two teams is what could be the deciding factor in this match.

The game is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center and will be broadcast on ESPNU.

sports@dailynebraskan.com