Seven Huskers have been named the AVCA North Region Freshman of the Year, as libero Lexi Rodriguez was this year. That means seven Nebraska freshmen were eligible for All-America honors.
Rodriguez became just the third to earn All-America honors, joining Sarah Pavan (2004) and Kadie Rolfzen (2013). Pavan was the only other first-team selection as a freshman in school history. Nationally, Rodriguez became the first freshman to earn a first-team nod since Wisconsin middle blocker Dana Rettke in 2017.
Lexi Rodriguez is the only underclassman on the 14-player first team. Seven of the selections are listed as graduate students.
B1G DPOY, 1st-team All-Big Ten, Big Ten All-Freshman team and now 1st-team All-American. Not bad for a freshman.
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) December 15, 2021
Two other Huskers made the All-America teams, announced by the AVCA on Wednesday.
Senior middle blocker Kayla Caffey was a second-team selection after averaging 2.37 kills and 1.13 blocks per set while leading the team with a .376 hitting percentage. It was something of an upset pick as Caffey, a Missouri transfer, was not an All-Big Ten selection, though she did represent the Huskers’ for the conference’s Sportsmanship Award. This is Caffey’s first All-America award.
Junior outside hitter Madi Kubik was a third-team selection after earning honorable mention as a freshman and sophomore. Kubik has emerged as Nebraska’s go-to player on offense, leading the team in kills in 23 matches this season. She was also a first-team All-Big Ten selection.
Senior setter Nicklin Hames made it four-for-four with an honorable mention nod in 2021. Hames was a second-team pick in 2020 while earning honorable mention recognition as a freshman and sophomore.
No. 10 Nebraska faces No. 3 Pittsburgh in an NCAA Women’s Volleyball National Semifinal Thursday night in Columbus, Ohio. First serve between the Huskers and Panthers is set for 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. The winner will face the winner between No. 1 Louisville and No. 4 Wisconsin on the other side of the bracket.
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.