Rodriguez Strives To Keep Team In Balance

By Lincoln Arneal

Entering her second year as a captain, Lexi Rodriguez said she still is figuring out her leadership style. 

Growing up in Sterling, Illinois, she was a quiet player. While her teams elected her captain, the honor came mostly because she was the best player on the court and for the example she set. 

After two seasons at Nebraska, Rodriguez has established herself as one of the Huskers’ top performers – she was NU’s only selection to the preseason Big Ten all-conference team – and has taken a more active role as a leader. 

Since being elected captain again, Rodriguez has emerged as the face of the program. The junior libero spoke to the media following the team’s Brazil trip and was an NU  representative at Big Ten Media Days along with co-captain Merritt Beason. The league has also shared hype videos highlighting her defensive prowess. 

“I didn’t know how I was going to perform or be at this level,” she said. “I’ve had a great two years and I’ve really matured and grown up a lot to where I can be at this point. Growing up, I didn’t know if I’d be able to be vocal enough to kind of be a leader.”

Rodriguez first got her taste of leadership on a college team when she was selected as a captain for the United States’ U21 team for the Pan Am Games last summer. She said the experience helped her figure out her leadership style. However, it was different because she was the captain of a team that had never played together and she had not previously met a few of her teammates.  

She has also looked to past teammates as examples of great leadership. Rodriguez said she wants to provide a mentorship to freshman Laney Choboy similar to how former captain Kenzie Knuckles helped show her the ropes early in her career. 

Since her selection as captain for this season, she’s been working closely with Beason to set up open gyms, develop team chemistry and talk about goals for the fall. 

While Beason said her role is that of the team mother, Rodriguez said she focuses on providing a calm, consistent energy on the court. 

“Some people are going to be a lot higher and some people are going to be a lot lower. So I  just try to make sure that there’s like a balance,” Rodriguez said. “I’m also someone that a lot of people can open up to and talk to. I think that I’m a really good listener and that I have really close relationships with everyone on the team.”

Junior outside hitter Ally Batenhorst said Rodriguez is a great role model for the team. Her mental toughness and work ethic are contagious and set the standard. 

“Just having someone like her on the court is very relieving and it’s kind of reassurance that like everything would be fine,” Batenhorst said. “She definitely sets the standard everyday in practice.”

Back to the Numbers 

For as long as she can remember, Hayden Kubik wore No. 11. It was her club number and her high school number. However, as a freshman at Nebraska, she wore No. 33. She chose that number as a tribute to her Christian faith and her cousin, who was going through cancer treatment, wore it while playing baseball. 

There was some confusion when she arrived about who would wear it because Caroline Jurevicius, who is a year younger, had called dibs on No. 11.

However, the situation resolved this year when Jurevicius arrived and officially picked No. 10, freeing the jersey to be worn by Kubik. 

“It’s back to my normal self,” Kubik said. “It feels good.”

Future Huskers Show Out

Four Nebraska commits are making a big impact for the United States junior national team at the U19 World Championships in Croatia and Hungary. 

The United States won the gold medal Friday evening in Osijek, Croatia with a 20-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-10 reverse sweep against Turkey. 

Middle blocker Ayden Ames (class of 2024), libero Oliva Mauch (’24), outside hitter Teraya Sigler (’25) and setter Campbell Flynn (’25) have been regular starters for the American team. 

In the title match Sigler recorded 12 kills, 11 digs and a block. Ames added four kills, while Flynn had one kill and delivered a tough serve on match point to force an overpass. Mauch tallied 13 digs. 

The U.S. went undefeated in pool play including five-set wins over Korea and Croatia. In bracket play, they swept the Dominican Republic, topped Brazil 15-11 in the fifth set, before knocking out Italy in four sets in the semifinals. 

Sigler’s best match of the tournament came against Brazil when she finished with 23 kills, four aces and two blocks. 

Articles You Might Like

Share This Article

More Stories