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High School Volleyball Preview: Nebraska Commits Lead Class B Contenders

August 26, 2021

Lindsay Krause. Rylee Gray. Whitney Lauenstein. Norah Sis. Elle Glock. Allie Gray. Addison Heidemann. The list goes on and on.

The 2021 class of Nebraska volleyball players was truly special, and many of them are already making a name for themselves at the college level.

However, the cupboard is far from bare. Led by a pair of Nebraska commits, several other high-major recruits and a number of prolific high school standouts, the state is once again brimming with volleyball talent, setting the stage for a terrific 2021 season.

We’re beginning our two-part preview with a breakdown of Class B.

Omaha Skutt has had a stranglehold on Class B over the last half-decade, winning five straight state championships. However, with Krause in Lincoln and Gray at Arizona State, Skutt may not be the favorite this season. Last year’s runner-up, the Norris Titans, bring a lot back and have their sights set on the big prize.

“I think we have the same expectations we do every year,” Norris coach Christian Boesiger said the NebPreps Fall Media Day in early August. “We try to train every day in the gym for a state championship; no matter what the year is, that’s out ultimate goal. So knowing that last year we were close to reaching that goal, we’re going to go in knowing it’s a process. Trusting the process, trusting these coaches, pushing each other, it’s just hard work and discipline that takes place in August, September, October leading up to November.”

Maisie Boesiger, a defensive specialist commit for Nebraska and Norris’ starting setter, leads a strong group of returning Titans including outside hitters Ella Waters (4.2 kills per set on .356 hitting) and Sydney Jelinek (2.3 kills per set). Defensive specialists Alivia Hausmann and Sydney Guthard (3.1 digs per set combined) played in every set as freshmen last year and gained valuable experience.

The senior class, led by Boesiger (10.7 assists and 2.8 digs per set), is looking to make the tournament for the fourth straight season.

“One more round is kind of what we keep telling ourselves because freshman year we lost in the first round, sophomore year we lost in the second round and junior year we lost in the championship, so we’re hoping to go all the way this year. It will take a lot of work, but we’re so excited.”

Boesiger has played an important role since her freshman year and she’s heading into her third season as the starting setter while playing for her mother. This season, she’s focusing on taking her leadership to another level.

“I think as a setter, you’re kind of like a quarterback,” Boesiger said. “You have to hold your teammates accountable and especially with new girls coming in you have to set the tone and really encourage them and just bring them in and help them feel welcome. Pushing your teammates, I think that’s something that we worked really hard on this summer in the gym, just making sure that everyone needs to be vocal and cheering each other on. For myself as a setter, I know I need to hold my passers accountable and talk to my hitters, building the relationships and just finding the trust with each other to establish our goals.”

The SkyHawks certainly aren’t going anywhere, though. Krause, Gray and five other seniors may be gone, but coach Renee Saunders, a former Husker, has plenty of talent returning.

Recent Michigan commit and junior outside hitter Morgan Burke was second on the team behind Krause with 2.1 kills per set while hitting .310 last season. Central Florida commit Abby Schomers is sliding back into her natural position of setter as a senior after playing as a hitter last season so she could see the floor along with Gray. Ava Heyne (2.0 kills per set on .368 hitting) is back in the middle for her senior season as well.

Norris isn’t the only team in Class B with a future Husker. Whitney Lauenstein may have moved on, but middle blocker Bekka Allick is back for one more season with the Vikings before joining her former teammate in Lincoln. The 6-foot-3 middle blocker, a top-10 recruit nationally, averaged 2.3 kills on .408 hitting and. 1.4 blocks per set before suffering a season-ending leg injury against Wahoo on Oct. 6.

Allick, her twin sister Hannah (who averaged 4.0 assists and 1.4 digs per set while playing in a two-setter system last year) and defensive specialist Karsen Vanscoy (4.5 digs per set) will have to step up as senior leaders for a Waverly team that lost most of its firepower from last year’s state tournament qualifier.

Bekka Allick made the cut for the USA Volleyball U18 team that will compete in the FIVB U18 World Championship in Durango, Mexico, in late September. She’ll join three 2023 Nebraska commits on the 12-player team.

One team that is looking to make a big leap forward is Elkhorn North. Led by a dynamic junior outside hitter in Purdue commit Grace Heaney (5.0 kills per set on .258 hitting, 2.9 digs per set as a sophomore) and a talented young setter in Reese Booth, the daughter of Creighton volleyball coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth, the Wolves return everybody from last year’s team that went 13-18 against a tough schedule in its first year of competition.

The best player in Class B not named Allick is Wahoo outside hitter and Montana State commit Mya Larson who averaged an absurd 5.9 kills per set on .406 hitting and 4.4 digs per set, but the Warriors lost a lot from last year’s team including one of the best setters in the state in Elle Glock, the daughter of former Nebraska basketball player Jason Glock and a freshman at USC. Wahoo also has a new coach as Trish Larson, Mya’s mom, stepped down after leading the Warriors to the Class C1 state title last season.

Check back later for an overview of Class A and a run-down of some other players to watch in lower classes.

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