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LINCOLN — You can scratch one worry off Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook's list of unknowns as his team prepares for its season-opening tournament in St. Louis on Friday.
When asked after Wednesday's practice about the status of senior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, who suffered a left shoulder injury in Saturday's Red-White scrimmage, Cook in turn asked the question to Robinson, who was standing nearby.
“Kelsey, you 100 percent?” the coach asked.
“Yep,” Robinson replied.
So with that apparently cleared up, Cook dove into other issues that come with a near-brand new starting lineup.
Nebraska will go into its opening match at 4:30 p.m. Friday against Louisiana-Monroe at the Billiken Invitational using a 6-2 system, with both junior Mary Pollmiller and freshman Kelly Hunter running the offense at setter.
NU last used a two-setter offense in 2010 when Lauren Cook split duties with Sydney Anderson. John Cook said the 6-2 offense allows the Huskers to use their best passing lineup and lets the coaching staff rotate in more players for the season's opening weekend.
“We basically spent all day on Monday going through the pluses and minuses of both,” Cook said.
“Right now, really neither setter separated themselves. It's a lot easier to go to a 5-1 from a 6-2 than it is to go from a 5-1 to a 6-2, so we're going to start in a 6-2 and see how it goes and evaluate. We can always go to a 5-1 — it's a lot easier to transition.”
Both Pollmiller, a transfer from Tennessee, and Hunter, a Papillion-La Vista South product, have experience running a 6-2 system.
“Those guys, they're just all about the team and what we can do to be the best we can be,” Cook said.
A decision still has to be made on the two starting middle blockers, which Cook called “a coin flip” between three players. In the mix are returning sophomore Meghan Haggerty and redshirt sophomores Alicia Ostrander and Cecilia Hall.
Freshman Justine Wong-Orantes will get the starting nod as the team's libero.
Another variable in the decision whether to continue using a 6-2 system past this weekend is the status of freshman outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen, who continues to recover from a right (swinging) shoulder injury. Rolfzen played exclusively in non-attacking positions in the back row in the Red-White scrimmage and has been limited in workouts. However, Cook said Monday the former Papio South star has been cleared to play.
Rolfzen's return would provide added depth behind Robinson and sophomore Kelsey Fien, and likely increase the chances of sticking with the 6-2. But the touted freshman has not taken live swings in team scrimmages yet.
Robinson's quick recovery from her scare Saturday means less of a rush for Rolfzen to return to the lineup. Robinson, a senior from Bartlett, Ill., also has been healing from recent soreness in her right arm, but said she wasn't worried about missing any match time after leaving last Saturday's scrimmage following the hard fall that injured her shoulder.
At least not until she talked to her father at dinner following the scrimmage. Robinson said she heard her left shoulder “pop” when she hit the floor.
“And my dad said, 'If there was a pop, then it's a tear,' ” Robinson said.
Dad turned out to be wrong, still ... “I was like, 'Thanks, Dad.' ”
Nebraska will close the Billiken Invitational by playing a pair of matches Saturday, at 10 a.m. versus Auburn and 7 p.m. against Saint Louis.