NU Vball: Huskers Add Three Talented Newcomers

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Volleyball Adds Three Talented Newcomers

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook announced the 2016 Husker newcomers on National Letter of Intent Signing Day Wednesday.

Setter Hunter Atherton, outside hitter Alex Ratzlaff and middle blocker Lauren Stivrins will be freshmen for the Huskers in 2016.

“We are excited to have these three outstanding student-athletes join our program,” Cook said. “They are tremendous competitors with great work ethics who are going to make a huge impact on our team on and off the court. We always look for student-athletes who are great leaders and teammates, and these three possess those qualities. They all have a desire to be great, and they are going to make Husker Nation proud.”

Atherton, a 5-11 setter from Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio, is set to join the Husker program for the 2016 spring semester. Atherton was named an Under Armour First-Team High School All-American last week and is ranked the No. 41 overall prospect by PrepVolleyball.com. Atherton is averaging 9.6 assists per set for Dublin Coffman, Ohio’ No. 1-ranked team entering this weekend’s state tournament.

Ratzlaff, a 5-10 outside hitter, will join the Huskers from Hillsboro, Kan. Ratzlaff was a Kansas Volleyball Association first-team all-state selection each year at Hillsboro, where she averaged 7.0 kills and 5.8 digs per set as a senior. Ratzlaff won state titles with Hillsboro as a freshman and sophomore and earned a runner-up finish in her junior year. She also competed in the USA Volleyball High Performance Indoor Women’s Junior A1 National Training Team Program in 2015.

Stivrins, a 6-4 middle blocker from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., is ranked the No. 9 overall prospect by PrepVolleyball.com. A former club national champion, Stivrins possesses a powerful arm and athleticism that earned her the reputation as one of the nation’s elite middle blocker recruits. Stivrins averaged 5.3 kills per set as a senior for Chaparral, leading the team to the Arizona Division I state tournament. Stivrins is no stranger to Nebraska, as her father, Alex, was a Lincoln East basketball state champion and she has family living in Lincoln.

Hunter Atherton, 5-11, Setter, Prospect, Ohio (Dublin Coffman HS)
• Will join the Huskers from Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio
• On track to graduate early and join the Huskers for the 2016 spring semester
• Ranked the No. 41 prospect in 2016 by PrepVolleyball.com and the No. 8 setter
• Named an Under Armour First-Team High School All-American
• All-Ohio First-Team selection
• Leads Dublin Coffman High School, Ohio’s No.1-ranked team entering this weekend’s state tournament
• Averaging 9.6 assists per set as a senior with 137 kills, 67 blocks and 37 aces
• Played club volleyball with Mintonette Sports VBC

Atherton: "I chose Nebraska for its amazing volleyball culture, unparalleled atmosphere on game day, the integrity of the coaching staff, and the ideas that the University of Nebraska has on developing the person as a whole. Nebraska truly feels like home to me and I am very excited to officially become a Husker!"

Alex Ratzlaff, 5-10, Outside Hitter, Hillsboro, Kan. (Hillsboro)
• Will join the Huskers from Hillsboro High School in Hillsboro, Kan.
• Averaged 7.0 kills and 5.8 digs per set as a senior, leading Hillsboro to a 27-13 record in Kansas 3A
• Had 6.8 kills per set as a junior to lead the Trojans to the Kansas 3A state championship match with a 39-5 record
• Won state titles with Hillsboro as a freshman and sophomore
• Selected to the USA Volleyball High Performance Indoor Women’s Junior A1 National Training Team Program
• MaxPreps Small Schools All-American
• Kansas Volleyball Association All-State First-Team selection
• Served 413 career aces at Hillsboro for a 26.7 ace percentage

Ratzlaff: "The tradition and reputation at Nebraska is second to none. I feel honored to have the privilege of playing in such a respected volleyball program. I can’t wait to play in front of the most loyal fans in the nation! Go Big Red!"

Lauren Stivrins, 6-4, Middle Blocker, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral HS)
• Will join the Huskers from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz.
• Ranked the No. 9 prospect in 2016 by PrepVolleyball.com and No. 3 middle blocker
• Led Chaparral to the Arizona Division I state tournament as a senior with 5.3 kills per set, playing outside hitter
• Trained with the USA Volleyball High Performance development program
• Arizona All-State Honorable Mention
• Added 147 career blocks, 92 aces and 459 digs
• Father is Alex Stivrins, a member of Lincoln East’s 1978 Class A state championship basketball team and former player at Creighton and Colorado
• Played club volleyball for AZ Storm, which won the 16 open division at the USA Volleyball junior national championships in 2014

Stivrins: "I chose to be a Husker because of the winning tradition, not to mention the fact that no venue compares to the Devaney Center, and nowhere else can you find a fan base so loud and proud as the University of Nebraska. The sky is the limit when it comes to Nebraska volleyball, and there is no other program that I’d rather reach it with. Go Big Red!"