The Nebraska women’s volleyball team may not have played any spring games as a follow-up to their 2017 NCAA National Championship, but summer preparations are underway for the start of the new season in the fall.
Your 2⃣0⃣1⃣8⃣ #Huskers captains, @mikaela_foecke & @KenzieMaloney1!
— Husker Volleyball (@Huskervball) June 6, 2018
In a move that’s unusual for head coach John Cook, who usually chooses captains in August just before the first matches of the season, he named senior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke and senior libero Kenzie Maloney captains for the 2018-2019 season at the beginning of the spring semester.
That early stability will be crucial for Nebraska, as they’ll be relying on a lot of new faces next season. One of the most intriguing storylines of the year will be the arrival of highly-touted freshman setter Nicklin Hames. The highly-touted prospect was the United States’ starting setter in all but 1 match at last year’s FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship. She ranked 8th in that tournament with 2.48 running-sets-per-set, defined as sets where her hitters faced 0 or 1 blockers: a key setting statistic.
The primary driver behind no spring schedule for Nebraska was the lack of setters: VolleyMob’s 2018 National Player of the Year Kelly Hunter graduated, and backup Hunter Atherton transferred to North Carolina. In addition to the returning hitters Foecke and Jazz Sweet, Hames will also be targeting transfer Lexi Sun, who was All-Big 12 as a freshman last season at Texas.
Foecke led the team in kills last year with 441 (3.53/set) while hitting at a .290 clip. She ranked 68th nationally and 5th in the Big Ten in kills while also contributing 39 aces and 295 digs and playing in all 125 of the team’s sets. Maloney also played in all 125 sets for the Huskers last season. Maloney led the team in digs with 452 (3.62/set).
Kelly Hunter and Annika Albrecht, who both graduated, were last year’s captains.