Nebraska lands volleyball prospect with deep Husker family roots
Ally Batenhorst hasn’t seen a Nebraska volleyball match in person. But one of the country’s top prospects has deep family roots with the Huskers, and committed anyway.
Some friendships with future NU teammates in the Class of 2021 also helped NU land the 6-foot-4 outside hitter from Katy, Texas, who was PrepVolleyball.com’s national high school freshman of the year in 2017.
Batenhorst had her pick of the nation’s top college programs, including Stanford, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Texas. But just because she hadn’t seen a match in the Devaney Center didn’t mean she was unfamiliar.
Both of her parents are from Nebraska, and there are plenty of relatives nearby who won’t have to drive too far to see her play in college.
“Ninety-five percent of my family is from Nebraska, so that played a role in my decision,” Batenhorst said Sunday. “The fan base is amazing, and (Lincoln) is a college town. I loved everything about it.
“It’s always been in my head that it’s been Nebraska, but I had to take some time and go through the process.”
Batenhorst’s father, Kurt, is from Wisner, and played basketball at Nebraska Wesleyan in the 1990s. Her mother, Susan O’Rourke, is from Omaha. Her grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins still live in Wisner. Other relatives are in Kearney and Omaha. Her older sister Dani is a freshman outside hitter at Gonzaga.
Batenhorst also grew close to other members of Nebraska’s 2021 class. She recently returned from playing for the U.S. youth national team at the NORCECA 18-and-under continental championship in Honduras. Future Huskers Lindsay Krause of Omaha Skutt and Kennedi Orr, a setter from Eagan, Minnesota, also were on the team.
“They were talking about it,” Batenhorst said. “They weren’t being like ‘You have to come here,’ but ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if you came up?’”
She also attended NU’s Dream Team camp in the summer of 2017.
Batenhorst’s addition puts Nebraska in strong position to have the nation’s top recruiting class in 2021. She would join Krause, Orr, Elkhorn South middle blocker Rylee Gray, and defensive specialist Alexis Rodriguez. Several of those are likely to be top 25 national prospects, according to PrepVolleyball.com.
Nebraska last had the country’s top recruiting class in 2013, the group that included Kelly Hunter and Amber and Kadie Rolfzen.
As a freshman last year at Seven Lakes High School, Batenhorst averaged 4.7 kills per set and helped the Spartans to a state runner-up finish in Class 6A. She was named newcomer of the year by LoneStarVolleyball.com and a first-team all-state 6A pick by the Texas Sportswriters Association.
Seven Lakes is 17-13 this year, but played the first part of the season while Batenhorst was with the national team.
Her height gives her an advantage over most high school blockers, but Batenhorst has eyes on being trained as a six-rotation player in college. She averaged 2.4 digs per set as a freshman.
All-around outsides have become one of the Huskers’ biggest selling points in recruiting the position. Mikaela Foecke made the transition from high school middle to six-rotation outside at Nebraska, and it helped coach John Cook seal the transfer of Lexi Sun this spring.
When Batenhorst called Cook on Sunday morning to tell him her decision, the Huskers landed another potential star who wants to be known as a passer and defender, as well as a feared attacker.
“I definitely want to get get stronger and focus on little things like my form, and be more consistent as well,” Batenhorst said. “If I want to play all the way around, I have to do both.”