LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — With super seniors Lexi Sun & Lauren Stivrins returning, the Nebraska volleyball team is ready for the fall 2021 season. The Huskers made it all the way to the Elite Eight this past spring before being eliminated by Texas.
NU held a media day on Saturday afternoon at the Devaney Center.
"We're not happy with how the season ended and how we played last year, " said head coach John Cook, who's about to begin his 22nd season. "We felt like we kind of got a season robbed from us in regards to no fans, so many cancellations, the way we played at the end being in Omaha. For us, it was like you get all dressed up to go to the party and it's a bummer party."
"The past couple years we haven't really played Nebraska volleyball," said senior setter Nicklin Hames. "We haven't finished at the end and so it's going to be a motivator going into this season."
Stivrins announced her return on Friday after undergoing back surgery last May. The All-American middle blocker won't return right away and will be eased back into the lineup with no timetable an exact return to the court.
"They're not going to put me on the court until I'm strong again," said Stivrins. "I only just started this past week using weights again and they're only like 5, 10 pounds but it's still something so until I can get my body back to full strength, we're not going to jump right in because this is going to happen all over again."
"She brings a lot of fire to our team and we love to have her however it is," Hames said. "Even if it's on the bench just cheering us on. Her presence is really felt within the team."
🏐"We felt like we kind of got a season robbed from us in regards to no fans, so many cancellations, the way we played at the end being in Omaha. For us, it was like you get all dressed up to go to the party and it's a bummer party." #Huskers John Cook. https://t.co/u5j7jMX4VS pic.twitter.com/chd3v2d7Du— Adam Krueger (@AdamKruegerTV) August 7, 2021
NU's experienced players will be pushed by an incoming recruiting class that was ranked #1 in the nation.
"I don't care if they're a freshman, senior, 5th year senior, super seniors, whatever the heck they call them," Cook said. "People are going to have to earn their way on this team. And we've got 16 players that can all play. I think it's going to be a war everyday. You can't come in and take a day off, cruise through practice, take a play off. We had way too much of that last year."
"I have a lot of respect for the older girls that have been here for a while," said freshman outside hitter Lindsay Krause. "And they've been doing a lot of teaching me just this summer."
"I'm going to just soak it all in from the coaches, from the older girls," said freshman middle blocker Rylee Gray. "Just learning, being a sponge basically because I respect all these girls so much."
The Huskers host Tulsa & Colgate to open the season Friday August 27.