Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney head volleyball coach Rick Squiers officially announced today that Breanna Jones and Fallon Stutheit are transferring into the Loper program and will take to the courts this fall.
Jones will have two years at UNK and is a 5-9 defensive specialist/libero with Stutheit a 6-2 middle blocker with four years remaining. Jones comes in from Division II Bridgeport (Conn.) with Stuheit previously at Division I Nebraska.
“We are very fortunate to have such an influx of talent joining us in 2020. When combined with an extremely strong group of returners, this roster is as deep and experienced as we have had in a long time. We are greatly looking forward to the opportunity of getting this team in the gym,” Loper head coach Rick Squiers said.
UNK previously announced the addition of five high school seniors in outside hitter Ibi Green (Elkhorn South H.S.), outsider hitter/defensive specialist Jensen Rowse (Minden H.S.), outside hitter Lauren Taubenheim (Lincoln Pius X H.S.), setter Rhianna Wilhelm (Heartland H.S.), and defensive specialist/libero Adi Wood (Kearney H.S.). The Lopers had four seniors – two outsides and two middles – on the 2019 roster with sophomore-to-be middle Michaela Bartels coming back from a knee injury suffered in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
Jones (Littleton, Colo.) spent the past two years playing for one of the top programs in the East Region as the Bridgeport Purple Knights won 40 matches, reaching the 2019 region finals. Averaging a team-best 4.07 digs per set, she was named second-team All-East Coast Conference this past fall. Jones served as BU’s starting libero and was one of just three players to appear in all 121 sets.
“Breanna is a proven back row player in high D2 volleyball. In addition to her steady platform skills and composed playing style, her length allows her to play the middle back position with range and coverage on defense,” Squiers said. “She is a very nice fit for how we play. We are looking forward to her addition.”
Having nine matches with at least 20 digs this year, Jones came in at 3.79 digs per set as a freshman. That year she had a team-high 34 aces, handed out 38 assists and appeared in 95 of a possible 96 sets. Finally, Jones started at Chatfield High in suburban Denver, having 1,345 career digs and 543 career kills for the Chargers. Reaching 300 digs all four season she was part of a 2017 squad that went 23-4 and reached the Class 5A state tournament.
Stutheit spent 2019 as a redshirt at Nebraska. Earning the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team Award, she was part of a Husker squad that went 28-5 and advanced to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament.
“We were absolutely thrilled to have Fallon joining our program. She is a physical point-scoring attacker and blocker who can do some big things for Loper volleyball. On top of posting one of the best high school careers in state history, her year of training at Nebraska will undoubtedly be an asset in her being ready to contribute this season,” Squiers said.
Playing for her mother, Tera, at Johnson-Brock High School, Stutheit led the Eagles to three Class D1 state titles. She set the Class D1 state record for kills in a season as a sophomore (539), averaged 5.9 kills and hit .417 as a junior and came in at 5.1 kills and a .415 hitting efficiency in 2018. Finally, Stutheit was a two-time Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald first-team selection who spent the club volleyball season playing for Nebraska One.
The Lopers, coming off a National Runner Up finish, are set to begin fall camp in mid-August. UNK’s “new” 2020 competition schedule will be announced in two weeks.