Nebraska volleyball incoming freshman Harper Murray was named the 2022-23 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year.
Murray is the fifth Nebraska volleyball player to be named the Gatorade National Player of the Year. The others are Ally Batenhorst (2020-21), Lexi Sun (2016-17), Mikaela Foecke (2014-15) and Gina Mancuso (2008-09).
The 6-foot-2 senior outside hitter amassed 726 kills and 409 digs this past season, leading Skyline High School in Michigan to the Division 1 regional semifinals. Murray also recorded 86 service aces and 40 blocks, and she posted a .405 hitting percentage.
She graduated from high school in December and will attend classes at Nebraska in the spring semester. She joins a talented group of outside hitters which allowed Coach Cook to play a wide variety of lineups in the 2022 fall season. Murray’s playing time as an outside hitter initially will depend largely on her ability to pass serve and consistently earn kills.
Nebraska needs to replace two key serve receive passers as they graduated seniors Kenzie Knuckles and Madi Kubik. The only serve receive passers from last season left are Lexi Rodriguez and Ally Batenhorst. Batenhorst stepped into the passing role after Knuckles was injured late in the season. Batenhorst was mostly successful but her off and spring season will include a lot of passing reps in preparation for the 2023 fall.
Batenhorst and Rodriguez need one more partner in this passing trio. Whitney Lauenstein and Lindsay Krause will also look to fill the role and maybe Hayden Kubik. As the line up ebbs and flows, watch the passing consistency, the ones who do that best are likely who the coaching staff will continue to give the nod.
Another incoming freshman, setter Bergen Reilly, was chosen as South Dakota’s Gatorade Player of the Year for the third time in her prep career after leading O’Gorman to the South Dakota Class AA state semifinals with 440 kills, 338 digs, 60 aces and a .307 hitting percentage playing as an outside hitter.
Reilly was also the MVP of the U-19 U.S. team that won gold at the Pan Am Cup last summer. She too competed at the Under Armour All-America game in January and will join the Huskers when the spring semester begins next week.
Nebraska had inconsistency in the setting position in the fall and will certainly look to answer the short and long term setter dilemma. The lone setter remaining from the fall roster is Kennedi Orr. Orr started at times in the fall but often had ball handling errors and missed her set location. The offense never reach optimal performance while she ran it.
In the off season and into the spring season setters take reps in the thousands. She will work on her consistency and foot work to get to the ball.
Two talented setters and a handful of really good outside hitters sounds like an opening arguement for running a 6-2 offense. We shall see!