In final season, Maloney makes All-Big Ten volleyball team
Nebraska volleyball player Kenzie Maloney will end her college career as an all-conference player.
When the All-Big Ten volleyball teams were announced Wednesday, Maloney had been chosen for the 18-player all-conference first team. The senior libero earned her first career Big Ten postseason honor.
Maloney was one of five Nebraska players honored. Outside hitter Mikaela Foecke and middle blocker Lauren Stivrins also made the first team. Foecke was one of 10 unanimous selections for the first team in a vote of the Big Ten coaches.
Both of Nebraska’s freshman starters — setter Nicklin Hames and middle blocker Callie Schwarzenbach — made the seven-player all-freshman team.
Maloney is averaging a team-best 4.07 digs per set, and played an instrumental role in leading Nebraska’s No. 1-ranked defense this season. She inspires her teammates with her relentless effort on defense.
“Kenzie, of course, is unstoppable,” Stivrins said. “She is so hungry for the ball. She never lets anything drop back there. It’s nice to have that on our team.”
Maloney ranks sixth in program history with 1,322 career digs. Maloney had a career-high 25 digs twice this season, and she was named the most valuable player of the Husker Invite and the best libero at the Ameritas Players Challenge. Maloney’s 34 ace serves are third-most on the team.
Foecke made the All-Big Ten first team for the second consecutive season. The senior from West Point, Iowa, leads the Huskers with 3.72 kills per set and adds 2.66 digs per set with a team-high 38 ace serves.
She was named Big Ten player of the week four times this season, and she has climbed to No. 6 on Nebraska’s career kills list and ranks ninth in career ace serves.
Stivrins, a sophomore middle blocker, also earned her first career Big Ten honor. Stivrins is averaging 2.23 kills per set with a team-best .401 hitting percentage, which ranks ninth nationally.
Hames made the All-Big Ten freshman team after averaging 10.28 assists and 3.31 digs per set. Schwarzenbach, a 6-foot-5 middle blocker from Kearney, Missouri, finished second in the conference in blocks with 1.43 per set.
Brooke Smith, the Huskers’ senior backup setter, was selected as Nebraska’s sportsmanship honoree.
Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin each had three players on the first team.
In a conference that is home to five of the top-eight ranked teams in the country, the all-conference teams are a tough list to make. Eight of the players chosen were All-Americans last season. Minnesota outside hitter Alexis Hart was a third-team All-American last season. This year she made the Big Ten second team.
Minnesota senior setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson was chosen as the player of the year. Penn State senior libero Kendall White is the defensive player of the year.
Minnesota’s Hugh McCutcheon was selected as the coach of the year. The Gophers won the Big Ten championship with a 19-1 league record, and are the No. 2 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.
NET broadcast: If you didn’t get a ticket for this weekend’s Nebraska volleyball matches in the NCAA Tournament, you’ll be able to catch the Huskers on television.
NET will carry Friday’s Nebraska-Hofstra match set for 7 p.m. If the Huskers advance, NET will broadcast Saturday’s 7 p.m. second-round match.
The NET broadcasts will also be streamed online at BTN2GO.com if your cable provider includes the Big Ten Network. All three NCAA Tournament matches this weekend will have a free live stream at Huskers.com, too.
Practices open to public: All four teams in Lincoln for the NCAA volleyball tournament will have a practice open to the public on Thursday at the Devaney Sports Center:
The schedule: Missouri, noon to 1:30 p.m.; Arizona, 1:45 to 3:15 p.m.; Nebraska, 3:30 to 5 p.m.; Hofstra, 5:15 to 6:45 p.m.
Fans attending the open practices should park in Lot 52 on the south side of the Devaney Sports Center. They should enter through the unlocked south door of Devaney.