Lexi Rodriguez is the first Husker to earn a weekly Big Ten award this season as the conference named her co-Defensive Player of the Week alongside Wisconsin freshman Gülce Güçtekin on Monday.
Rodriguez averaged 6.0 digs and 0.5 aces in a pair of Husker sweeps last week. She recorded 11 digs and one ace against Michigan State then followed that up with a season-high 25 digs and two aces against Michigan as the Huskers held the Big Ten’s top offense nearly 100 points below its season hitting average. The 25 digs are a new career high for a three-set match.
The award is the third weekly defensive honor of Rodriguez’s career.
The 2-0 week improved the Huskers to 6-0 in Big Ten play and 14-1 overall, and Nebraska remained at No. 3 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll as a result. The top four — Texas, Louisville, Nebraska and San Diego — has been the same four weeks in a row. Nebraska is the lone Big Ten team unbeaten in conference play, stating alone in first place after three weeks.
Wisconsin (11-3, 5-1 Big Ten) moved up two spots to round out the top five after handing Purdue its first conference loss in four sets on Saturday. Ohio State (9-5, 5-1) held at No. 6 after beating Penn State in five and Northwestern in four. Purdue (14-2, 5-1) dropped four spots to No. 9 after falling to Wisconsin and needing five sets to beat Iowa.
Minnesota (9-5, 4-2) moved up one spot after a pair of sweeps over the Michigan schools. Penn State (14-3, 3-3) dropped one spot to No. 14 after its third straight weekend split. Michigan (12-4, 3-3) remained at No. 24 despite losing to both Minnesota and Nebraska, though Western Kentucky leap-frogged the Wolverines and UCF fell into a tie with them.
Northwestern (13-5, 2-4) is among others receiving votes once again with 14 points, good for 30th.
Little changed with Nebraska’s nonconference opponents as Stanford moved up one spot to No. 7 and the trio of No. 19 Kentucky (10-5), No. 20 Pepperdine (14-4) and No. 21 Creighton (14-3) all held their spots.
After two straight weeks of away matches, Nebraska returns to the Devaney Center this week to face Penn State on Friday night and Northwestern on Sunday afternoon.
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.