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Nebraska volleyball DS Keonilei Akana enters the transfer portal

Nebraska defensive specialist Keonilei Akana
Nebraska defensive specialist Keonilei Akana (Nebraska Athletics Communications)

Husker volleyball defensive specialist Keonilei Akana has entered the transfer portal, HuskerOnline has confirmed.

The sophomore has been a critical part of Nebraska's volleyball program as she has appeared in 53 of NU's matches and in 185 sets over the last two seasons.

"Honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to play for Nebraska Volleyball for the past 2 years," Akana said in a post on Instagram. "Thank you to my Coaches, Nebraska Athletics, and Husker Nation for all the love and support. To my teammates, you have been the most amazing family away from home that I could’ve asked for. I am always here for you."

The 5-foot-9 defensive specialist had 461 digs as a Husker, averaging 2.49 digs per set. Akana was one of Nebraska's best servers and one of the best in the Big Ten as she had 42 services aces in 2021, averaging 0.35 aces per set.

The Hawaii native dominated in the NCAA volleyball tournament. She served seven aces against No. 2 Texas in the Elite Eight, helping change the course of the game. Akana also had a career-high 24 digs against No. 1 Wisconsin in the 2021 National Championship match.

She played in Nebraska's spring exhibition match against Kansas on Saturday, April 23rd. The sophomore had a team-high 18 digs with one assist, one service ace and one error.

Akana was a part of Nebraska's three elite defensive players with senior defensive specialist Kenzie Knuckles and sophomore libero Lexi Rodriguez in the back row, leading one of the most suffocating defenses in the 2021 season.

Before Nebraska, Akana was a versatile outside hitter at Kamehameha Kapalama High School in Honolulu. She was named the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Player of the Year, first-team All-Hawaii and the All-Hawaii Girls Player of the Year.

Akana will have three more years of eligibility as her first season at Nebraska was in 2020.

This decision comes on the heels of the new transfer portal rule where student-athletes that enter the portal by May 1st can immediately play at their next school.

It is unknown at this time why Akana has decided to leave Nebraska.