LINCOLN - Sophomore outside hitter Ally Batenhorst may miss more playing time because of a lingering abdominal muscle injury.
Batenhorst, one of NU's top four outside hitters, started the match against Creighton before heading to the bench in the first set due to the injury. She was in visible pain while working with athletic trainer Jolene Emricson.
The injury may force Batenhorst to take some time off in hopes that it won’t be a reoccurring injury, coach John Cook said on his radio show.
“It’s one of those things where they’re hard to heal up,” Cook said on Huskers Radio Network. “You try to get back, but it can just be one little thing that sets it off again. She started the match and I could tell she was off. I go, ‘Are you OK?’ and she said yeah. And then when she came out the second time she said, ‘I don’t think I can play.’”
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Batenhorst was replaced in Nebraska's rotation by freshman Hayden Kubik, the younger sister of Madi Kubik. Hayden Kubik finished with six kills, five digs and a block. She also had the game-winning kill.
More notes from Cook's chat:
Road trip to Little Apple: The Nebraska volleyball team will have a fan-friendly road match next season when it takes on Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas.
Nebraska is making the trip as part of an agreement — Kansas State played in a tournament in Lincoln last season. Kansas State is opening a new 3,000-seat arena in 2023.
“Kansas State is opening up a new facility that they’re building for volleyball, so we’re going to go down and help them open that next year,” Cook said Thursday during the Nebraska volleyball radio show. “Our agreement was we would go there when they finish their facility.”
Nebraska has four weeks of nonconference matches it has to schedule each year. Most of the scheduling comes together after the previous season ends, but a few of the matches are scheduled years in advance. Nebraska is currently part of a four-year scheduling agreement with Stanford, Kentucky and Louisville.
The Huskers also try to play Creighton most years. In each of the next two seasons Creighton will play Nebraska in Lincoln.
When Creighton and Nebraska played Wednesday at CHI Health Center Omaha, the match set an NCAA record for attendance for a regular-season match with 15,797.
Cook seems to be warming up to the possibility of moving one of Nebraska’s matches from the Devaney Sports Center to Pinnacle Bank Arena, where the Huskers could try for a crowd of 15,000-plus.
Cook is protective of the home court advantage Nebraska has at Devaney Sports Center. A match at PBA would be a new experience for both squads.
Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts has talked with Cook about considering a match at PBA.
“Maybe we’ll look at trying to beat (the attendance record) next year at PBA,” Cook said.
Slide attack still coming: Husker fans are missing the slide attack that former Husker middle blocker Lauren Stivrins ran to perfection in past seasons.
Husker freshman middle blocker Bekka Allick had some success on that attack also before Nebraska started playing some matches in a two-setter rotation. But Cook says the 6-2 offense doesn’t mean Nebraska can’t run the slide attack.
“We’re continuing to work on it every day,” he said. “It is an option we can throw in this offense, and you will be seeing it.”
Serving needs work: Nebraska had no ace serves against 10 serving errors during the five-set win against Creighton.
Cook’s detailed dive into Nebraska’s stats through six matches show him that Nebraska’s serving needs to be a focus.
“We’re hitting 100 points higher than we hit last year,” Cook said. “Our opponents are hitting a little bit higher than what they hit last year. Out-blocking is about the same, but we’re pretty much at goal or above goal in every statistical category. Our passing numbers are better than last year. What I’d like to see is I’d like to see our serving game ratchet up a notch. We have some new servers serving, so they have to learn how serve tough with confidence under pressure.”