The accolades continue to roll in for setter Kelly Hunter following a senior season that cemented her place among Husker greats. The Big Ten Setter of the Year and co-Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four (alongside teammate Mikaela Foecke) is now also VolleballyMag.com’s Player of the Year. The award was announced over the holiday weekend.
Coach John Cook, as he has been through much of the 2017 season, was effusive in his praise of Hunter when contacted by the magazine:
“Kelly’s one of the greatest setters that has played here,” said Nebraska coach John Cook, whose team just won its second title in three years. “We played with confidence and always went on to the next point and a lot of that was her. With her leadership, everybody else was relaxed and was confident like ‘We have this in control.’
“Of our last six teams, this team statistically played at its highest level in the Big Ten. We use the conference as a great comparison. It’s a great way to study how we play.
“Would we have won the title without Kelly? No way. There is no way. She should have been the Big Ten player of the year. She’s the best setter in the country and she was the best player in the tournament.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, former Nebraska Coach Terry Pettit published his own thoughts on Hunter on the same day the award was announced in a post titled “How Good is Kelly Hunter?”
In the post Pettit notes that he was contacted by a publisher seeking his thoughts on Hunter. The publisher isn’t named (and doesn’t matter), but the timing is interesting. As is Pettit’s response because he mostly refuses to engage in the easy narrative with which he was supplied.
None of this was a slight towards Hunter, of course. Pettit did offer his impression of the Nebraska setter:
What I can comment on, is what Kelly Hunter does best. Her best attributes are her mindset and her decision making. Mindset is the ability to not pass judgment on the last behavior (set). Like all great setters she may occasionally underset a ball or make a decision that wasn’t the best, but she doesn’t let a less than great play impact the next play. She is passionate but not emotional. She is intentional in her decision making rather than reactionary. She also does the most important thing for any great setter, she sets hittable balls. I thought she was the best setter in 2017.
Both the VolleyballMag.com story and Pettit’s post are well worth checking out in full. There’s plenty more at both spots.
And if you want even more Husker volleyball we published our Year in Photos from the Hail Varsity photographers. We’re also giving away signed copies of Dream Like a Champion. Here’s how you can win one.
The Grab Bag
- ICYMI: We published a few other stocking stuffers over the weekend, including our Year in Football Photos and Derek Peterson's latest magazine feature on Scott Frost and Wood River.
- Alabama and Texas A&M both end up on Sports Illustrated's "Loser" list from early signing period.
- Tickets are getting expensive on the secondary market for next week's FCS National Championship Game in Frisco, Texas.
- Good read on Boston College's successful season after a 2-4 start.
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.