27/05/2024

It’s awful timing': Nebraska volleyball's Kenzie Knuckles suffers season-ending injury

Sábado 26 de Noviembre del 2022

It’s awful timing': Nebraska volleyball's Kenzie Knuckles suffers season-ending injury

Knuckles, who arrived to the Devaney Sports Center on crutches Friday, is Nebraska’s top defensive specialist and recently announced she wasn't returning next season.

Knuckles, who arrived to the Devaney Sports Center on crutches Friday, is Nebraska’s top defensive specialist and recently announced she wasn't returning next season.

Nebraska's Kenzie Knuckles reflects on the relationships she's built through her volleyball career at Nebraska and having no regrets in her final season.

The Nebraska volleyball team experienced a significant setback this week after Kenzie Knuckles suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice on Wednesday.

Knuckles arrived at the Devaney Sports Center ahead of Friday's showdown with Wisconsin using crutches. She was on the bench with her teammates during the match cheering. Nebraska lost the match in four sets.

Knuckles is Nebraska’s top player at the defensive specialist position, making a major impact in back-row defense, in serve-receive and serving.

This season she has 177 digs and 18 ace serves.

Knuckles has been key to a defense that ranks No. 1 in the nation. Nebraska coach John Cook said libero Lexi Rodriguez, setter Nicklin Hames and Knuckles could win matches for the Huskers with their defense.

“I’ve said all year that Kenzie is the best middle-back defensive player in the country,” Cook said. “I really believe that.”

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After the match Nebraska sophomore Ally Batenhost had to stop and compose herself when asked about Knuckles.

“We really look up to her, she’s just a really big leader and cares a lot for her teammates,” Batenhost said. “It’s really hard.”

Nebraska senior Kaitlyn Hord said it had been a difficult few days for the players.

“It’s really hard, just because you never want to see one of your teammates go down and this is her last season, so it’s awful timing,” Hord said.

Earlier this week Knuckles announced that she had decided this would be her final season of college volleyball and she won’t use the fifth year of college eligibility allowed for athletes who played during the COVID-19 season.

“It was a tough decision, but I met with (Cook) multiple times about it,” Knuckles said on Tuesday. “I have absolutely loved this program. It’s like a family to me, and it’s so hard saying goodbye to it. But I just think that after 4½ years I think that the time has come. Me and Madi (Kubik) got here together, and we’re going to leave together.”

Knuckles is a senior from Yorktown, Indiana, who has played both libero and defensive specialist during her career. Knuckles has been a captain for the past two seasons.

Knuckles is one of five players who had played in all 90 sets, along with Whitney Lauenstein, Kubik, Hord and Rodriguez.