Most of the time when I write a Lo-Down, I am pulling all of the knowledge I have built up over the years about volleyball and Nebraska as a program. I normally don’t have to do a lot of research, I simply just share the insight and insider stories I have due to being a player myself and being related to the head coach. However, I had to look back into the past and use some extra resources for our topic this week.
That investigation really opened my eyes to some of the most distinguished jersey numbers for the Huskers and some of the memorable players who represented those numbers.*
#1 – Greichaly Cepero, Val Novak
#2 – Mikaela Foecke, Lauren Cook, Kayla Banwarth, Stephanie Thater, Lori Endicott
#3 – Kelly Hunter, Christina Houghtelling, Amber Holmquist, Angie Oxley
#4 – Justine Wong-Orantes, Lindsey Licht
#5 – Amber Rolfzen, Christy Johnson
#7 – Gina Mancuso, Nancy Metcalf
#9 – Sarah Pavan, Laura Pilakowski
#11 – Kenzie Maloney, Tracy Stalls, Cathy Noth
#13 – Briana Holman, Karen Dahlgren
#17 – Annika Albrecht, Amanda Gates, Jenny Kropp, Janet Kruse
#26 – Lauren Stivrins, Jennifer Saleaumua
Now, I often get asked about how the jersey number selection process works. It is actually pretty simple and only requires a few different factors.
Before you start your career at Nebraska, one of the staff members reaches out and asks what number you would like to wear throughout your career. They will provide you with a list of numbers that are already taken and how long they will be taken. There have been a few instances where a Husker will wear a certain number for a year or two and then change numbers once the number they want becomes available.
This leads me to my next point; the majority of the players have a specific reason why they pick the jersey number they do. For example, I wore No. 13 my first year as a Cornhusker because No. 2 was taken by Kayla Banwarth. I knew Kayla only had a year left, so I wore 13 for the year she was there and then transitioned to No. 2 once she graduated. No. 13 has significance for me because it is the same jersey number that my mother wore when she played. (She was a two time All American and is in the Hall of Fame at San Diego State.)
The No. 2 has importance to me for motivational reasons. Every time I would put on that jersey, I would see the 2 and it would remind me that I still had to work hard and prove to everyone every single day that I wanted to be the best, I wanted to be No. 1. The other reason I chose 2 is because I was hoping for two championships––a Big Ten championship and a national championship. Although we won a Big Ten title, we fell short of a national championship. However, wearing that number reminded me of my goal each time I put on my jersey.
Whether they became an All-American, a professional athlete, a national team member or an Olympian, some of the best players to ever play the sport of volleyball have represented the Big Red at one point in their career. It truly is amazing to see how much talent has come out of this program and to know the success will continue here no matter who is which jersey number.
I am honored to have been a part of Husker volleyball and I am proud to have worn a number that was shared by other Nebraska greats.
*Disclaimer: I listed players who are/were All Americans who have shared the same jersey number with another All-American or multiple All-Americans. If they weren’t an All-American or didn’t have any other All Americans sharing their jersey number, then they were not listed. Jordan Larson, who wore No. 10 would be an example. She was an All-American, but there have not been any other All-Americans who have represented No. 10.
Lauren joined Hail Varsity in 2017 as a contributing writer covering Nebraska Volleyball. Lauren played volleyball at UCLA in 2009 and then finished her collegiate volleyball career at the University of Nebraska from 2010-2012. After college, she played professional volleyball in Switzerland and Puerto Rico before making her way back to Lincoln. Lauren considers herself a wine connoisseur and a major “foodie” and she also loves to travel the world. Lauren and her husband, Jason, married in 2018.