Hunter Named First-Team AVCA All-American
Nebraska senior setter Kelly Hunter was named a first-team AVCA All-American on Wednesday, headlining a group of four Huskers that were recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Senior outside hitter Annika Albrecht and junior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke were selected as second-team All-Americans, while senior middle blocker Briana Holman received honorable mention. The Huskers' three AVCA All-America selections improves their nation-leading total to 87 all-time.
Hunter, a native of Papillion, Nebraska, earned her second-career All-America honor but her first selection to the first team, becoming the 45th all-time AVCA first-team All-America selection at Nebraska. Hunter has set NU to an NCAA title and two Big Ten titles over the last three seasons and was voted the AVCA North Region Player of the Year and the Big Ten Setter of the Year. After missing the first two matches of the 2017 season with an injury, Hunter returned to lead the Huskers to 30 wins in the last 32 matches with 10.84 assists and 2.67 digs per set. Hunter has a team-high 15 double-doubles this season and has climbed to second in career assists at NU with 4,041. An AVCA second-team All-American in 2016, Hunter added two Big Ten Setter of the Week awards this season to bring her career total to eight. A three-year team captain, Hunter was also a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and a Senior CLASS Award candidate earlier this season. Hunter leads the Huskers into the NCAA Semifinals on Thursday against Penn State with a 14-1 record in her NCAA Tournament career as Nebraska’s starting setter. She owns the best winning percentage by a Husker setter in the postseason (.933) and is tied with Fiona Nepo (14-3) for the most NCAA Tournament wins by a starting setter in Husker history. Hunter and Nepo are the only players to set Nebraska to three NCAA Semifinals, and Hunter is the first to do so in three consecutive seasons.
Albrecht, a Husker co-captain from North Aurora, Illinois, has had a breakout season as a six-rotation outside hitter to earn her first AVCA All-America honor and her first All-Big Ten honor. Albrecht is one of the Huskers' most versatile weapons with 3.08 kills and 2.74 digs per set along with 32 service aces. In her Husker career, she ranks sixth in school history with 137 career aces. Albrecht has played in every set since stepping foot on the Husker campus in 2014, a total of 480. Albrecht was the AVCA Player of the Week, espnW Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week on Sept. 26 after a career-high 19 kills in a sweep at Penn State. Albrecht leads Nebraska with 50 kills and 3.85 kills per set through four NCAA Tournament matches, and she has had at least 13 kills in three of the Huskers’ four postseason matches.
Foecke, who has twice earned AVCA All-America honorable mention, becomes an AVCA All-American for the first time in her career with her second-team selection. This year, Foecke also earned her first-career All-Big Ten selection as she has produced all over the court for the Huskers in her first season as a full-time six-rotation player. The West Point, Iowa native leads NU in kills with 3.47 per set and adds 2.26 digs per set. She has notched seven double-doubles and leads the team in service aces with 37. Foecke was the Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 30 and, along with Hunter, was one of 10 Big Ten players to earn a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten team. Foecke has sparked Nebraska's current 17-match win streak, posting double-digit kills in 11 of the 17 wins. Last weekend, Foecke was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Lexington Regional after totaling 25 kills in two matches, averaging 3.6 kills per set. Foecke had 18 kills on .375 hitting in the regional final at No. 6 Kentucky.
Holman, a senior middle blocker from DeSoto, Texas, received AVCA honorable mention for the second time as a Husker. A first-team AVCA All-American at LSU in 2014, Holman has paced the Huskers in the middle with 2.42 kills and a team-high 1.17 blocks per set with a team-best .355 hitting percentage. Holman was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 5 and the MVP of the Ameritas Players Challenge. A four-time AVCA All-Region selection, Holman was named to the VolleyMob.com All-Region Dream Team this week after an 11-block, six-kill performance against Kentucky in the regional final.