Nebraska coaches have teased Lauren Stivrins’ return at different points throughout the offseason, but this time it’s official: Stivrins announced on her podcast — “On Set with Nick and Lo” — that she’s taking advantage of her extra year of eligibility to run it back with the Huskers one more time — “eventually.”
Stivrins snuck in the announcement at the very end of episode two of her podcast with fellow captain Nicklin Hames.
Hames: “Oh wait. Lauren, are you coming back next season?”
Stivrins: “Yes I am.”
Hames: “Whoo! You heard it here first. Now stop asking.”
Stivrins: “Eventually. Eventually, yeah.”
Stivrins followed that announcement up with a Twitter video to confirm the news.
ITS COMEBACK SZN BABY!! #GBR
you head it here first! (well, on our podcast actually but yep it’s happening) pic.twitter.com/mMdmCg6Y5Y
— Lauren Stivrins (@LaurenStivrins) August 6, 2021
The 6-foot-4 middle blocker suffered a back injury late in the season that limited her in the NCAA Tournament and led to offseason surgery. The recovery time created uncertainty for Stivrins surrounding her future, but with the season set to begin in three weeks she’s decided to stick around in Lincoln for one more season.
“I want to return for another year because I know this is the best place for me to recover and get back to doing what I love most with the people I love most,” Stivrins said in a release. “This year I want to go out on a win, and that means winning the national championship. Having won one already, I know what it takes and how much of a grind that’s going to be, but I think we’re so ready for that. This team is so talented, and I’m really excited to see what we can do.”
The co-captain earned first-team AVCA All-America honors for the second time after averaging 3.18 kills per set on .468 hitting and 1.03 blocks per set. She led the Big Ten in hitting percentage and was third in the country as she fell just shy of breaking the program’s single-season record for hitting percentage (Tracy Stalls’ .471). She now owns the second- and third-most efficient attacking season in Nebraska history as she also hit .421 as a sophomore in 2018.
She recorded 10 or more kills in 10 of her 18 matches and hit over .500 seven times. Her best performance of the season came early on against Maryland when she recored 18 kills on 20 swings (.850 hitting), and she matched that performance with 18 kills on .424 hitting and added six blocks in a five-set match against Ohio State. Stivrins recorded a double-double with 15 kills on .583 hitting and 11 blocks in a four-set win over Rutgers.
Stivrins is a three-time All-American (second team in 2019, first-team in 2020 and 2018), a three-time AVCA All-North Region team selection and a three-time All-Big Ten selection. She’s returning for her sixth year of college after redshirting her first season in 2016.
Stivrins joins Lexi Sun as seniors returning for an extra season of eligibility. Stivrins hasn’t provided any kind of timetable for her return to the court, but in the mean time the Huskers have plenty of depth at middle blocker with Callie Schwarzenbach, Kayla Caffey and Kalynn Meyer returning plus freshman Rylee Gray joining the mix.
“Our staff is so happy Lauren is coming back for a sixth year,” Coach John Cook said. “She’s so much fun to coach and someone you want in the gym, and this is awesome news for our program. We’ll all need to be patient as Lauren works back into volleyball shape. We will make sure we do not rush her and look forward to the day she can be out there on the court.”
The Red-White Scrimmage is set for Aug. 21 at the Devaney Center. The Huskers will open the season at home against Tulsa on Aug. 27.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.