Freshman libero Kenzie Knuckles was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after leading the Huskers to a 2-0 weekend.
Knuckles averaged 5.9 digs per set in the Husker Invitational, recording 22 digs in a 3-1 win against preseason No. 18 Creighton and following it up with 19 digs in a sweep of UCLA. She added 10 assists on out-of-system sets and served up one ace in the two matches, earning a spot on the Husker Invitational All-Tournament Team.
“It’s really exciting,” Knuckles said after the UCLA match. “My goal was to go out there and just prove myself and have fun with my teammates and work with my teammates, and feeling like I did that is really exciting.”
With Knuckles leading the defense, Nebraska held its opponents to .074 hitting
“She’s got to pass at a high level, which she did Friday night; Saturday night was a little rough,” Coach John Cook said during his Monday press conference. “She’s got to set out-of-system balls. She’s got to continue to become a better server. I think she took a big step in running the court, managing everything, running the court, she was on top of things. For a freshman the first weekend out — talking to her about owning the court, it’s her court — and I thought she did a really good job of that.”
The 5-foot-8 native of Yorktown, Indiana, is transitioning to defensive specialist after playing outside hitter in high school and she won the libero battle in preseason practice.
Wisconsin middle blocker Dana Rettke was named Big Ten Player of the Week after averaging 5.83 kills per set on .534 hitting in sweeps over North Carolina and Florida State. Rettke’s teammate, junior Sydney Hilley, was named Setter of the Week as she put up 13 assists per set in the twin wins.
Michigan State libero Jayme Cox, a junior, rounds out this week’s Big Ten honors by taking home Defensive Player of the Week. Cox averaged 6.57 digs per set in wins over Duke and College of Charleston.
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.