The Nebraska volleyball team signed a five-player recruiting class on Wednesday that includes three players who recently earned Under Armour first-team high school All-America honors.

Outside hitters Madi Kubik and Riley Zuhn, and libero Kenzie Knuckles each earned all-America honors. For doing so they’ll play in an all-star match during the NCAA Final Four next month. Wisconsin and Stanford were the only other schools with three recruits on the first team.

There are also two recruited walk-ons in Nebraska’s class: Emma Gabel from Lincoln Pius X and Fallon Stutheit from Johnson-Brock.

Kubik and Knuckles plan to enroll in January and will take part in spring practice. Nebraska coach John Cook said the recruits will help in the competition the team will have for new starters after the graduation of outside hitter Mikaela Foecke and libero Kenzie Maloney.

“The returning players from this year’s team, and this class, will be our team for the next two years, so this is going to be a core group together, and we are going to expect this class to come in and challenge for important roles right away,” Cook said in a news release.

Here is a look at the players who will join the team next season:

Madi Kubik

Outside hitter, 6-foot-1, West Des Moines, Iowa (Valley)

Of note: She’s ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. She led her high school team to a 41-4 record this year by averaging 5.16 kills per set with a .382 hitting percentage. Last summer she played on the U.S. junior national team.

Cook says: “Madi is undoubtedly one of the best players in the country. Her experience with Team USA will be a very valuable addition to our program. With (Foecke) graduating after this season, Madi will have a chance to compete for a starting spot right away. She is a complete volleyball player and can play all six rotations. She is an exceptional passer as well as a force at the net.”

Kenzie Knuckles

Libero, 5-8, Yorktown, Indiana

Of note: Played outside hitter in high school, but will be a defensive specialist or libero. She is the No. 37 prospect in the class and the No. 3 libero by PrepVolleyball.com. This year her high school team had a 34-0 record. She had 14 kills and 10 digs in the state championship match. She played beach volleyball instead of club in 2018 to improve her ball-handling and defensive skills.

Cook says: “We believe we’re getting one of the most talented players in the country in Kenzie, and can’t wait to get her in a Nebraska jersey. She is a ball-control machine who has the potential to be on the court right away.”

Riley Zuhn

Outside hitter, 6-5, Fort Collins, Colorado (Fossil Ridge)

Of note: She’s ranked the No. 32 overall prospect, and has played for the U.S. youth national team.

Cook says: “She is a highly skilled attacker and blocker and plays for one of the best club teams in Colorado.”

Emma Gabel

Libero, 5-7, Lincoln (Pius X)

Of note: While helping Pius X to a state runner-up finish, Gabel had 596 digs (5.7 per set) and 24 ace serves. Playing club volleyball for VCNebraska, she was named to the AAU national championships all-tournament team.

Cook says: “Emma will be a great addition to our back row. She is an elite passer and defender who reads the game well.”

Fallon Stutheit

Middle blocker, 6-1, Johnson (Johnson-Brock)

Of note: She won three state championships in high school. This season she had 475 kills on a .415 hitting percentage.

Cook says: “We love adding Nebraska kids to our roster and Fallon epitomizes a small-town Nebraska girl chasing her dreams of being a Husker.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.


Sports reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

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