Nobody on Nebraska's volleyball team had more to celebrate than Briana Holman
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When the media had finished asking the Nebraska players questions about their volleyball national championship, Huskers coach John Cook took his turn.
Turning to senior middle blocker Briana Holman, he said, "I want to know what it feels like to graduate from college and win a national championship in the same day."
Holman got emotional, talking about being the first person in her immediate family to get a college degree. She had to miss the graduation ceremony in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday morning but said she'll probably "take the walk" at the spring ceremony in May. She got her degree in criminal justice.
"I want to work with troubled youth, doing counseling," Holman said. "I feel like sometimes all these kids need is a little guidance. It means a lot to me."
Holman, who is from DeSoto, Texas, played her first two seasons at LSU. But that school wouldn't release her from her scholarship when she wanted to transfer. So she sat out the 2015 season and took out a loan to pay her own way that year at Nebraska.
"I didn't think we'd be able to get her," Cook said. "But she and her family saw something in Nebraska."
Holman practiced with the team in 2015, but when the Huskers won the NCAA title that year, she felt a little odd. Like she was part of it ... but also not part of it.
"All my teammates said, 'You need to know you helped us get to this point,'" Holman said. "So that made me feel better."
Then she was right in the thick of things in winning this championship, getting 13 kills and four blocks in the semifinal victory over Penn State and seven kills and six blocks in the final against Florida.
And Holman adjusted to the passionate Nebraska fan base, which was much different than anything she'd ever experienced before.
"It took a little getting used to how much people cared," she said. "Even when I was, like, pumping gas for my car, someone might say, 'Oh, hey, I watched you guys yesterday.' It was a little weird at first, but I'm so glad I came here."