Nebraska volleyball can add another name to its long list of players who have gone on to play professional volleyball internationally. Former Husker Annika Albrecht announced last night that she will continue her career with a Nantes, a team in France's top league.
Albrecht's entry into the professional ranks isn't surprising. Her game is perfect for the pro game which allows for fewer subs and thus puts a premium on do-everything players. Albrecht, a former walk-on, did a lot in her four years at Nebraska.
For one, she became just the third player under John Cook to play in every set (489 of 'em) in her career and also holds the school record for most postseason sets played at 75. A serving and defensive specialist her first three years, Albrecht racked up digs and aces but there was more in store in 2017.
Named a team captain, Albrecht was tasked with playing six rotations as a senior. After some early struggles, she came up huge in Nebraska's historic road win over Penn State. That helped kick start a run that would lead the Huskers to the 2017 national title. Albrecht earned first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-America honors.
Six-rotation test passed, now she'll take that all-around skill set to Ligue A. This type of success is a big part of the Huskers' pitch to a certain kind of player –– see also: Lexi Sun –– so these signings all add a little more fuel to the fire.
NEWCOMBE'S NEW GIG
In other "former Huskers, new gigs" news, Bobby Newcombe is now the head coach at Queen Creek Casteel High School outside of Phoenix, Arizona. He inherits a program that went 14-0 last season, winning the 3A state title.
Newcombe had one of the more unforgettable Nebraska careers of the post-Osborne era. A backup wingback on the 1997 team, Newcombe transitioned to quarterback to take over for Scott Frost in 1998, starting six games. Then came the high-profile quarterback battle with eventual Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch. A receiver and return specialist in 1999 and 2000, Newcombe was selected in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
"I was an athlete," he said. "Wherever they needed me to play, I would play. … As long as I was contributing to the team. Gosh, you're playing in front of 80,000 people. It's incredible. You don't really understand the experience of it until you sit in that stadium. A life changer."
Maybe he didn't feel that way in the months after his college career ended, when Newcombe's professional future hung in the balance, but that seems like a fair and good way to remember his time with the Huskers now.
The Grab Bag
- Mike Leach is still at it on Twitter, offering to debate USA Today writer Dan Wolken following Wolken's recent column.
- Stanley Morgan Jr. is in at No. 48 on Sports Illustrated's ranking of the top 100 players in college football.
- CBSSports.com's Tom Fornelli is taking the under on Nebraska at six wins.
- ICYMI: Make sure to check out this thoughtful column from Derek Peterson on Scott Frost's recent comments to high school football players on social media.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.