Six Nebraska volleyball players and head coach John Cook were honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) in the All-Region Awards announced on Tuesday.
Bekka Allick, Merritt Beason, Andi Jackson, Harper Murray, Bergen Reilly and Lexi Rodriguez were all named to the AVCA North All-Region Team. The Huskers' six All-Region selections ties the 2016 team for the most in program history.
Additionally, Beason was named the North Region Player of the Year, and Murray was named the North Region Freshman of the Year. Cook was named the Region Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career and first since 2016.
Beason is the second Husker ever to be named AVCA Region Player of the Year, joining Kelly Hunter (2017). A junior opposite hitter who transfered to NU from Florida, Beason has stepped in as a team captain and is contributing a team-leading 3.83 kills per set this season with 2.05 digs per set and a .293 hitting percentage. Beason was a unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection. A native of Gardendale, Ala., Beason earned four Big Ten Player of the Week honors this season and was the AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 24 following 21 kills in a 3-2 win over then-No. 1 Wisconsin. As a sophomore at Florida in 2022, Beason was an All-SEC and AVCA All-Region selection.
Murray is NU's eighth AVCA Region Freshman of the Year. Rodriguez was the last one in 2021. Murray was voted Big Ten Freshman of the Year this season, making her the second ever Husker (Madi Kubik, 2019) to receive that distinction. She also earned All-Big Ten First Team and unanimous All-Freshman Team accolades. An outside hitter from Ann Arbor, Mich., Murray ranks second on the Huskers in kills with 3.25 per set on .247 hitting and adds 2.08 digs per set with a team-high 33 service aces. Murray was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times this season and has seven double-doubles.
Rodriguez earned her third AVCA All-Region honor in three years. A two-time All-American libero, Rodriguez was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year this season for the second time in her career, becoming the fifth player in Big Ten history to receive that honor twice in a career. Rodriguez, who averages 3.56 digs and 1.26 assists per set with a .980 reception percentage, leads a Husker defense that ranks third nationally in opponent hitting percentage. The Husker co-captain also received All-Big Ten First Team honors for the third time. A junior from Sterling, Ill., Rodriguez was twice named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week this season. She was a first-team AVCA All-American in 2021 and a second-team AVCA All-American in 2022.
Allick earned her second All-Region accolade in as many years. A sophomore middle blocker from Lincoln, Neb., Allick has been Nebraska’s top defensive presence at the net with a team-best 1.39 blocks per set this season. Offensively, Allick adds 1.82 kills per set on .324 hitting. Allick received second-team All-Big Ten honors for the second year in a row.
Jackson, a freshman middle blocker from Brighton, Colo., averages 2.07 kills per set and 1.08 blocks per set and has a team-high .398 hitting percentage, which ranks 19th nationally. Jackson was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week in November and has hit .500 or better in 12 matches this season. In addition to picking up AVCA All-Region honors, Jackson was selected to the All-Big Ten Second Team and All-Freshman Team.
Reilly, Nebraska's freshman setter, collected AVCA All-Region honors one week after being named Big Ten Setter of the Year, becoming the first ever freshman to earn the award since it originated in 2012. She also earned All-Big Ten First Team and All-Freshman Team accolades. Reilly, just the second true freshman setter to be the starter at Nebraska under head coach John Cook, is putting up 10.69 assists and 2.63 digs per set and has 13 double-doubles this season. The Sioux Falls, S.D., native ranks 14th nationally in assists per set. Reilly was named Big Ten Setter of the Week four times this year and Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice.
Cook was voted AVCA North Region Coach of the Year and Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading a young Nebraska team with no seniors to its first Big Ten title since 2017. The Huskers finished the regular season 28-1 overall, their best regular season record since going 28-1 in 2005. After going 26-6 last year and missing the NCAA Regional Finals for the first time since 2011, the Huskers started over with a starting lineup featuring four true freshmen and a junior transfer (Beason). Cook’s Huskers won their first 27 matches of the season and held the No. 1 ranking from Oct. 23 through the end of the regular season. Despite having no seniors on the roster for just the second time in Cook’s 24 years at Nebraska - as well as starting a true freshman at setter for only the second time in Cook’s tenure - the Huskers earned the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016 and the sixth time overall under Cook.