Five Huskers collect Big Ten postseason honors
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Nebraska volleyball program was well represented on the 2021 All-Big Ten teams and postseason accolades announced by the conference office Wednesday, earning four all-conference nods, one superlative honor and two all-freshman awards.
Madi Kubik, Lexi Rodriguez and Lauren Stivrins were named to the All-Big Ten First Team, and Nicklin Hames was selected to the All-Big Ten Second Team. Rodriguez was tabbed the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous selection to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Fellow newcomer Lindsay Krause joined her on the All-Freshman Team.
Teams were determined in a vote of the league’s 14 head coaches. Nebraska and Purdue were the only two schools to have three first-team All-Big Ten picks this season. NU has boasted at least three first-teamers six straight years.
Rodriguez has had an outstanding freshman season as NU’s libero, averaging 4.46digs and 1.12 assists per set while adding 14 aces. She collected six weekly conference awards over the 10-week regular season -- four as Big Ten Freshman of the Week and two as Defensive Player of the Week. Rodriguez ranked third in conference play with 4.71 digs per set. The Sterling, Ill., native totaled at least 15 digs in 16 matches and notched 20+ digs seven times.
Rodriguez is the Huskers’ third Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in program history, joining two-time winner Justine Wong-Orantes (2015, 2016). She is just the second freshman in conference history to capture the award and the first since Minnesota’s Paula Gentil in 2002.
Additionally, Rodriguez is the fourth Husker to garner All-Big Ten accolades as a freshman, following in the footsteps of first-team selections Meghan Haggerty (2012) and Kadie Rolfzen (2013) and second-teamer Kubik (2019).
Kubik has averaged 3.49 kills and 2.01 digs per set on .215 hitting in her junior season, adding 17 aces and 46 blocks. The outside hitter ranked third among Big Ten players with 4.11 kills per set in conference play. Kubik led the Huskers in kills in all but one conference match, finishing in double figures in 17 of 19 contests in the Big Ten slate. She was named Big Ten Player of the Week back-to-back on Oct. 11 and Oct. 18.
A West Des Moines, Iowa, native, Kubik was previously second-team all-conference in 2019 and is a two-time AVCA all-region and All-America Honorable Mention pick.
Stivrins picks up her fourth straight first-team All-Big Ten award, having previously been honored in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The three-time All-America middle blocker returned to the lineup on Oct. 1 after coming back from offseason surgery and has averaged 2.41 kills and 1.09 blocks per set. Stivrins has hit .346 on the year, which ranked seventh in conference play, and helped NU limit teams to just .147 hitting, which was the league low and ranks10th nationally.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., native has hit .380 for her career, which ranks fourth in school history, and is 10th for career blocks and 15th for career kills. Hames garnered her third straight All-Big Ten accolade, having previously been a first-team selection in 2019 and 2020. The All-America setter has averaged 10.58 assists, 3.37 digs, 0.43 blocks and 0.28 aces per set in her senior season, ranking fourth for assists and seventh for aces in league play.
Hames, who hails from Maryville, Tenn., was honored as Big Ten Setter of the Week twice this season --on Oct. 11 and Oct. 25. She has led NU with 19 double-doubles this season, took ownership of the program’s rally-scoring era career assists record and ranks second all-time at Nebraska for assists.
Krause has averaged 2.36 kills and 0.76 blocks per set in her freshman campaign while hitting .213, starting in 22 matches. The Papillion, Neb., native finished with double-digit kills 11 times and hit .300 or better on eight occasions. She earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week recognition on Sept. 27.
Since joining the Big Ten in 2011, Nebraska has counted 33 first- and second-team All-Big Ten selections and 11 All-Freshman honorees.
Kayla Caffey was Nebraska’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree. A graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in teaching, learning and teacher education, Caffey is a member of the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll.No.10 Nebraska opens the NCAA Tournament this Friday, Dec. 3, facing Campbell in the first round. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center.
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