John Cook got some good news on Sunday as former Penn State middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord announced on Instagram that she is transferring to Nebraska for her final season of eligibility.
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Hord entered the transfer portal in December after four seasons at Penn State. Legendary Nittany Lions coach Russ Rose announced his retirement soon after. Hord visited Lincoln this week before making her decision.
“Our coaches and team are very excited that Kaitlyn chose to become a Husker,” Cook said in a release after Hord made the transfer official. “We felt we had a need for more depth at the middle blocker position when evaluating our 2022 roster. Throughout the recruiting process, we already knew Kaitlyn was a great player, but we discovered she is a wonderful young woman who embraces dreaming big. She is a great fit with our program and will be a tremendous addition to our team culture.”
The 6-foot-4 middle blocker from Lexington, Kentucky, was a three-time AVCA All-American at Penn State (second-team in 2021, third-team in 2020 and first-team in 2019) and also earned All-America honorable mention as a freshman in 2018. She is a four-time All-Big Ten performer (first-team in 2021, 2020 and 2019, second-team in 2018) and made the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2018 as well.
Hord averaged 2.92 kills per set on .394 hitting and 1.40 blocks per set as a senior, finishing third in the conference in both hitting percentage and blocking average. She averaged 2.45 kills per set on .421 hitting and 1.32 blocks per set during the abbreviated 2020-21 spring season. As a sophomore, she averaged 2.65 kills per set on .440 hitting and 1.27 blocks per set. She made an immediate impact as a freshman, contributing 2.12 kills per set on .383 hitting and 1.24 blocks per set.
Middle blocker was the biggest position of need for the Huskers with Lauren Stivrins’ eligibility running out, Kayla Caffey’s eligibility being in question and Callie Schwarzenbach transferring to Long Beach State. Earlier this month, freshman middle blocker Rylee Gray announced she is medically retiring from volleyball as well, leaving the Huskers with three middles on the roster.
Kalynn Meyer will be heading into her third season at Nebraska but has played sparingly. Cook also signed the top two middles in the 2022 recruiting class in Bekka Allick and Maggie Mendelson. If Caffey is granted a waiver for one more season of eligibility, it would further bolster a group with plenty of talent but minimal experience outside of the newcomer in Hord.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.