Typically, programs set aside time during their last home match of the regular season to honor their seniors. This season is anything but typical, however.
First, Nebraska won’t get its final home match of the season. Positive COVID-19 tests within the Penn State program wiped the Huskers’ final series of the regular season. With the Big Ten finally deferring to local health officials when it comes to fan attendance instead of a blanket ban, Nebraska planned to welcome up to 2,400 fans to Devaney Center for Thursday’s and Friday’s matches.
However, the Huskers still didn’t have a senior night ceremony planned, so they didn’t lose anything on that front.
“We had a meeting two weeks ago to prep for senior night and we decided we wouldn’t do anything after the match traditionally because the parents aren’t allowed down on the court,” Coach John Cook said. “At the time, we weren’t going to have fans. So we are going to do something on social media and something private with our team. So that’s what we’ve planned to do. Nick [Burkhardt], who’s our social media guy who does a phenomenal job, and Nate [Pohlen] are working together to come up with something on social media.
“Our account now is over 500,000 I think, we get exposure to everything we put out there. So a lot more people will get to see something about the seniors as opposed to just 8,000 on Devaney and maybe on NET. So it will be cool, we’ll make the most of it so at least that way they have something.”
The Husker volleyball Twitter account has nearly 130,000 followers and the program’s Instagram account has around 116,000 followers. Stay tuned to either of those channels to see what the Huskers come up with.
The other factor complicating the senior night situation is the fact that all of these seniors have the option to return for one more season if they want to. Like all other sports, the NCAA froze eligibility this season for volleyball players, and Cook confirmed that if any of the players choose to take advantage of that extra year, Nebraska will honor the scholarship. However, that decision is still a long ways off.
“Nobody is making any decisions until our season is over, and it may go on past that,” Cook said. “So we haven’t made any progress in that regard.”
Nebraska has four seniors on the roster in middle blocker Lauren Stivrins, outside hitter Lexi Sun, opposite hitter Jazz Sweet and defensive specialist Hayley Densberger (a walk-on). Any of them would be a big boost to the 2021 Huskers, but Cook isn’t going to put any pressure on them one way or the other.
“I’m not going to recruit them,” Cook said. “This is a decision on what they want to do. I think they’re waiting to see how this season goes. It hasn’t been a great senior year. It’s been a pretty tough deal. So I just think once it’s over, the dust settles, they’ll see where they’re at and what they want to do and how they’re feeling about things. I think they’ve been pretty mature about it, so I’m not really going to recruit or talk anybody into anything, because if I have to talk somebody into it, I’ll be talking them into it in the fall.
“This is more about what’s best for them, what they want to do, and we’ll have those meetings once our season is over.”
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.