Nebraska head volleyball coach John Cook announced the addition of three high school standouts to the Huskers’ 2013 roster. The upcoming class includes Melanie Keil, Kira Larson and Justine Wong-Orantes.
Melanie Keil | 6-0, Middle Blocker (Berlin, Germany – VCO Berlin)
Melanie Keil will join the Huskers from Berlin, Germany where she competes for the club team VCO Berlin. Keil has played for the U18 and U19 Germany National Team, competing in 70 national team games. She earned best player honors for the 6 Nations Tournament in Belgium, as her team went on to finish first in 2010, also finishing first in the 8 Nations Tournament Team in 2011.
“We first found out about Melanie when she sent video to most of the Big Ten schools,” Cook said. “We then had a chance to see her and bring her in on a visit. She is a very experienced player as her high school team is made up of some of the best players in the country and competes in a professional league in Germany. She goes to a German sports school that has many other athletes that train and live there. Melanie also played in the Junior World Championships for Germany. Her parents attended Michigan State and her mother is originally from Michigan. She is somebody that has the experience and physical training to compete for a spot right away.”
Kira Larson | 6-3, Middle Blocker (Fargo, North Dakota – Fargo North)
Kira Larson joins the Huskers from Fargo North High School in Fargo, North Dakota. She ranks as the No. 23 player in the country by PrepVolleyball.com and was recently named an Under Armour second-team All-American. Larson posted 558 kills, 108 aces, 137 blocks and 394 digs as a senior leader on the Fargo North squad. As a junior, she recorded 554 kills, 123 blocks, 247 digs and 81 aces.
“Kira is typical Nebraska recruit; she is from the Midwest and is a multi-sport athlete,” Cook said. “She has competed at a high level in track, won a state championship in basketball and volleyball and has earned many honors in the state of North Dakota. We love her passion and her energy, her competitiveness and athleticism are her greatest strengths. She does not have as much high level experience as the rest of the class, but her competitiveness and desire to be great will accelerate her at a very fast pace when she gets here. On a side note, her sister competed at Northwest Missouri State, her dad actually ran track for Jay Dirksen and her mom was also a track athlete and they are now both track coaches. She also used to babysit for Nebraska head basketball coach Tim Miles.”
Justine Wong-Orantes | 5-6, Setter (Cypress, Calif. – Los Alamitos High School)
Justin Wong-Orantes will join the Huskers from Los Alamitos High School in Cypress, Calif. She has been a four-year starter at setter for her high school team, which is one of the top teams in the state of California. She leaves Los Alamitos with more victories than any other player in program history, guiding the Griffins to a sectional championship last year and a 30-4 mark so far in 2012.
“Justine was a late recruit for us, we discovered her at the Junior Olympics last July,” Cook said. “We’re recruiting her as a libero, but she has been a setter on her club team. She kind of flew under the radar until her team played her at libero for a game, which is when we saw her. She played in Junior World Beach Championships and was the youngest AAA beach player ever at 12 years old. She is just a really good volleyball player. We like the fact that she has been a setter and also has experience at the libero position; she can do some creative things. We really like her competitiveness and she is a gym rat, she is either playing volleyball at the beach or in the gym. We just think she was a great addition for us and that will really elevate our back row play and depth at the libero and defensive specialist position.”