John Cook on radio: Lexi Rodriguez emerges as a leader in her early career and Orr’s debut | Volleyball


Nebraska Libero Lexi Rodriguez celebrates a point against Campbell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on December 3, 2021.

Star Journal File Photo

The Nebraska volleyball program announced Tuesday that seniors Madi Kubik and Kenzie Knuckles and sophomore Lexi Rodriguez will serve as team captains this season.

Knuckles also served as captain last season, while Kubik and Rodriguez will each serve in that role for the first time.

Each of the players was key to the Huskers having one of the best defenses in the country last season.

Kubik and Knuckles began to step into a leadership role shortly after the end of last season, while Rodriguez began to emerge as a leader more recently after being selected as captain of the United States Junior National Team. United in a tournament this summer.

“(Rodriguez) was named captain of this American team that won the Pan American Cup and just reinforced that confidence by being named captain, which is pretty important being captain of an American team playing in an international tournament,” , Nebraska coach John Cook said on the Nebraska Volleyball Radio Show on Tuesday.

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Having Rodriguez, the National Rookie of the Year last season, as captain will also help him gain experience as one of the leaders of the future if Kubik and Knuckles decide not to return the season. next for a super senior season.

Nicklin Hames had been captain for the past three seasons, but won’t be this year. This is because she may not be on the pitch as much this season if she plays as a defensive substitute at the back.

“Nicklin passed the torch,” Cook said. “I think she’s having fun, she’s relaxed. She knows that in her role right now, these other guys have to lead.

Orr’s beginnings: Second-year setter Kennedi Orr probably eased the minds of coaches and some fans alike with a solid performance at the Red-White Scrimmage last weekend. Orr will likely be the starting setter when the Huskers open the season on Friday.

Orr did not play as a high school student due to a knee injury. And she only made two appearances last season, when Hames was injured in the first week of the season.

“You have to think of (Orr) as a freshman. She hasn’t played in two years,” Cook said. “She was really nervous, so I didn’t know what to expect. She still has a lot of progress to make with her consistency and her technique. But you can tell she’s a very good passer.

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Orr has the potential to make plays that other setters can’t, Cook said, in part because she has bigger hands than some setters.

“She can kind of just take the ball from any position and make a set and make a play,” he said. “She is physical. It is an excellent blocker. She can hit. She calls the ball (to hit on off-system sets). The last player we had to do this is Kelly Hunter.

Orr is also a few inches taller than Hames, which could help Nebraska’s blocking.

“Kennedi is almost 6 feet tall, she’s got long arms, big hands, she takes up a lot of space,” Cook said. “And she sees very well.”

Batenhorst returns: Second-year outside forward Ally Batenhorst returned to training after missing a few days of practice and the Red-White Scrimmage through injury.

Contact the editor at 402-473-7435 or [email protected] On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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