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Loper Volleyball Signs Five

The Nebraska-Kearney volleyball program announced today that five high school seniors will join the Lopers next fall.

They are setter Brenna Nelson (Elkhorn H.S.), outside hitter Kinslie TeKolste (Lincoln Southeast H.S.), middle blocker Bailey Sokolowski (Kearney Catholic H.S.), middle blocker/outside hitter Katie Weber (Greeley, Colo.) and middle blocker Annie Wolfe (Omaha Marian H.S.).

“The 2013 recruiting class definitely helps us move forward as we try to meet the physical demands of the MIAA and the Central Region,” said UNK head coach Rick Squiers. “As a whole, this group definitely adds some “pop” on offense, but also some additional blocking potential and overall depth in key positions. We are very excited about our 2013 roster and the future of Loper volleyball.”

UNK has four seniors on this year’s team in defensive specialist Kaleigh Anderson, outside Ariel Krolikowski, setter Jenna Rouzee and outside/right side Abbey Schueth.

Nelson (5-7) helped the Antlers place third in the state in 2010. A multi-year letterwinner in both track and volleyball, she is a two-time Hustler of the Year award winner and a two-time all-conference and academic all-conference selection.

Named 2011 Class B honorable mention all-state by the Lincoln Journal Star, Nelson had 772 assists, 218 digs, 61 kills and 33 blocks this fall.

“Brenna has only been setting for a couple of seasons, but looks like a natural fit for the position already. She has excellent skills and quickness to go along with her ability to make great decisions and run the offense,” said Squires. “On top of that, she is a good passer and scrappy defender.”

The younger sister of UNK junior middle Katie Sokolowski, Bailey (6-1) powered the Stars to a 36-0 record this season and the Class C1 state title. Subsequently, she was named to the all-class all-tournament team.

Sokolowski led KCHS in kills (300) and attack percentage (.495) while also registering 65 blocks.

“Bailey has a rare combination of length and athleticism which will allow her to become an outstanding college volleyball player, likely as a middle blocker,” said Squiers. “In addition to being able to terminate the ball as an attacker and run the slide, she has great quickness which will help her on the block. Her potential is off the charts.”

After transferring in from Norris High School, TeKolste (6-2) helped the Knights go 27-9 this year and reach the Class A state tournament for the first time in a decade.

A track letterwinner as well, she recorded 394 kills, 325 digs, 49 aces and 38 blocks in 2012 from the right side to be named all-conference for a second straight year. TeKolste also has twice been named honorable mention all-state.

“Kinslie is a great attacker from both the left and the right, but also a skilled volleyball player with plenty of experience in the back row,” said Squiers. “She has just begun to realize her full potential, so the thought of her continued development at the college level is beyond exciting.”

Weber (6-1) was named MVP of her conference this fall after recording 261 kills, 197 digs, 60 blocks, 36 aces and 34 assists.

Averaging 3.6 kills per set for Greeley West H.S., she is a three-time all-conference selection who also was selected to the 2012 CCGS (Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports) all-state squad. Outside of volleyball, Weber is an all-conference soccer player.

“Katie is a multidimensional threat at the college level. She is athletic and strong but also skilled enough to play multiple positions even in the back row,” said Squiers. “Katie can really bring it as a hitter, but her drive and enthusiasm as a competitor might be her biggest asset.”

Finally, Wolfe (5-10) will be the second Crusader on the Lopers as current junior middle Ellie Pesavento also graduated from Marian.

Wolfe was a part of a team ranked 29th nationally by this year and one that went 38-5 and finished runners up in Class A. All five of the Crusaders losses came to now three-time champ Papillion La Vista South.

A 2011 honorable mention all-state choice in both basketball and volleyball, Wolfe ended her senior season with 349 kills, 257 digs, 48 blocks and 36 aces.

“Annie is a very dynamic athlete and competitor who’s proven she can consistently get kills against high level competition,” said Squiers. “In addition to being a great slide hitter, she is a quick defender and potential back row contributor. Her abilities fit our system very well.”

UNK plays Emporia State Friday night at 7:00 p.m. in the MIAA Tournament semifinals at the Health & Sports Center.