LINCOLN — With two state championships in her first two years of high school, it’s easy to see why Nicole Drewnick already has her eye on the next stage of her volleyball career.
Monday, the 6-foot-2 high school sophomore from Carrollton, Texas, chose Lincoln as her college destination, committing to join Nebraska’s 2020 class. Drewnick, who plays setter and opposite hitter in her club team’s 6-2 system, made an unofficial visit to NU last weekend.
“Nebraska obviously is a very successful volleyball program, but it’s not just that they win all the time,” she said. “It’s more like the culture, the coaching. After college, a lot of the girls that played for Nebraska, like (assistant) coach (Kayla) Banwarth, went on to the Olympics. After college, I want to expand my career.
“This is a place that would help me achieve my dreams after college.”
Last fall, Drewnick helped her Lewisville Hebron team to its third straight Texas Class 6A state championship and the second in her high school career. She was a second team All-District selection after putting up 277 kills, 228 digs and 116 assists for a Lady Hawks team that went 41-7.
Nebraska fans will get to know one of Drewnick’s high school teammates soon. Adanna Rollins, the Texas Gatorade player of the year, had 18 kills for Hebron in the state title match and graduated early to enroll at Minnesota in January.
“Adanna is very focused,” Drewnick said. “She’s a great athlete. She’s very driven. She wants the best for her team and does anything she can to lead the team.”
Drewnick said she selected Nebraska over other high-profile programs like the Gophers, Stanford and NCAA runner-up Florida. She is the third known recruit of NU’s 2020 class, joining middle blocker Kalynn Meyer of Superior, Nebraska, and Madi Endsley, an outside hitter from Temecula Valley, California.
NU coach John Cook piqued Drewnick’s interest, she said, with the Huskers’ recent list of players who continued their careers after college, a familiar, effective recruiting pitch. Besides Banwarth, Drewnick cited former All-America setter Lauren Cook and outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, now with Turkish club VakifBank, which will play in the European Champions League semifinals next month, as other role models who played professionally after finishing at Nebraska.
International volleyball runs in Drewnick’s blood. Her parents operate the Texas Instinct Volleyball Club, for which she plays, and her mother, Cilene, is a former professional player who was a member of Brazil’s 1992 Olympic team.
Nicole Drewnick was a courtside fixture at Instinct practices before she could walk.
“I was always at the gym, just watching either in a stroller or whatever,” she said. “Later on, (at age) 4 or 5, I would just run on to the court and shag balls, toss them to the girls. I just learned to love volleyball by watching it.”
Through her mother’s volleyball connections, Nicole was able to travel to Brazil last summer to train with a professional team coached by Bernardo Rezende, who has led both the men’s and women’s national teams of Brazil.
When Cook couldn’t stop gushing over Drewnick’s opportunity to be that close to volleyball royalty, Drewnick knew that she had found a kindred spirit and her eventual college coach.
“He was like, ‘Show me all the videos that you have,’ ” Drewnick said. “He wants to learn. He’s still so in love with the sport. That made me really fall in love with Nebraska.”