Outside hitter Madi Kubik was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday following a 2-0 week for the Huskers in which she led the team in kills.
The freshman from West Des Moines, Iowa, put up 16 kills on .306 hitting in a sweep at Michigan State on Wednesday. She followed that ip with a 19-kill, 16-dig double-double at home against Iowa on Saturday in which she hit .261 in five sets. The 16 digs tied a career-high. Overall, Kubik averaged 4.38 kills and 2.25 digs per set while hitting .288 in the two matches.
🔲 @MadiKubik 🔲
» Freshman of the Week pic.twitter.com/YjGeimfm7D
— Husker Volleyball (@Huskervball) November 18, 2019
“I just think she’s understanding the load that she has to carry and how to work at it each day,” Coach John Cook said. “She comes in and works really hard in practice to get better. I think mentally she’s handling it better now. Like I told all those freshmen, high school volleyball’s over now so technically you’re now sophomores, so you’ve got to start acting and playing like it. She’s done a good job. She’s carrying a big load for us as a freshman and I think she’s progressed really well.”
Kubik was also named both Player and Freshman of the Week by the Big Ten back on Oct. 21.
Kubik was thrust into a six-rotation role right out of the gates this season and struggled as an attacker early on. During the nonconference, she averaged 2.21 kills per set on .158 hitting. Here numbers have continued to rise throughout league play, however, as she is averaging 2.97 kills per set on .243 hitting since Big Ten play began. She’s been even better over the last six matches, averaging 3.45 kills per set on .287 hitting.
“I think Madi has just found her confidence in her game,” sophomore setter Nicklin Hames said. “I know it’s really hard stepping into the role that she did replacing Foecke and she’s embraced it. I think over time she’s gained that confidence and it’s shown on the court in all aspects — defense and hitting and she’s putting up great numbers. She’s just playing with our team really well and she’s just jelled and it’s starting to show.”
Kubik’s performance against Iowa was made even more important by the fact that junior outside hitter Lexi Sun, the team’s leader in kills this season, was struggling mightily. She finished with more errors (nine) than kills (eight) for the first time all season. Kubik, junior opposite hitter Jazz Sweet and both middle blockers picked up the slack, however, allowing the huskers to extend their winning streak to six.
Illinois libero Morgan O’Brien was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week while Wisconsin took home the other two awards. Sydney Hilley was named Setter of the Week while outside hitter Molly Haggerty earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
The Huskers will need all their hitters firing on all cylinders this weekend as Nebraska faces No. 7 Minnesota and No. 5 Wisconsin with both matches on the road.
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.