By Lincoln Arneal
It’s impossible to take your eyes off Bekka Allick while she’s on the court.
On one play, Allick will bounce home a kill and stomp her foot as she turns to celebrate with her teammates. On the next one, she points upward to help out officials, indicating a teammate’s pancake dig. Then she’ll step behind the end line and fire off a rocket serve, all with a wry smile on her face.
The 6-foot-4 middle blocker exudes charisma while she steals the show with powerful attacks, physical blocks and demonstrative celebrations. In her first season at Nebraska, Allick has already made an impression with her personality and play and has become one of the top freshmen in the nation.
For Allick, all those little moments are just who she is. She might talk to an opponent across the net after a long rally and commiserate for a moment. NU coach John Cook said Allick doesn’t act like a rookie, carries herself confidently and backs that up with hard work.
“She’s got a lot of personality. She talks a lot. She’s very animated,” he said. “I think it’s just awesome to be around every day. She said she wants to be great, and she’s doing it against some great players every night.”
Sophomore captain Lexi Rodrigues said Allick’s energy is refreshing. She always brings enthusiasm even when NU struggles, and her teammates feed off it.
“Her mental game is awesome,” Rodriguez said. “She’s such a positive energy and just brings so much energy, even in those big moments.”
If all had gone according to plan, Allick might still be a secret – biding her time on the Nebraska bench behind All-Americans Kaitlyn Hord and Kayla Caffey while earning spot playing time and getting used to college volleyball. After all, her goal at the beginning of the year was to be the top middle on the B-team.
However, plans changed. When Caffey transferred to Texas weeks before fall camp began, a starting middle blocker position opened up. Because Allick had enrolled at NU in January, she had a leg up on fellow freshman Maggie Mendelson, a dual-sport athlete who had reclassified up a year and spent part of the summer training with the women’s basketball team.
Allick started the first match of the year and has held onto that spot save for a split doubleheader to start the season and the Michigan match, which she missed with an illness.
“Coach is always the kind of guy where he’s gonna dangle it in front of you until you go get it,” Allick said. “I just kept working and grinding and focusing on what I could control and then things started happening.”
Allick started the season with a few simple goals such as earning a starting spot and being the middle blocker who serves. Now she’s focused on raising her hitting percentage and becoming more potent with her serve.
Since Big Ten play started, Allick leads the league in hitting percentage at .437, 40 points higher than the second-best by Danielle Hart of Wisconsin. She is third on NU with 2.15 kills and 1.05 blocks per set.
Along the way, Allick has drawn the attention of other teams. She’s been named Big Ten freshman of the week twice. But, of course, that recognition is just gravy on top of all the success her team has experienced.
“It does make you feel good about yourself,” she said about the weekly awards. “That’s for sure. Those are cool.”
Allick’s improvement comes from the work she puts in behind the scenes. There are no off days in the Nebraska gym. With a loaded roster full of five-star recruits, Allick is one of the more intense players. She shows up early, goes hard on every rep and stays late to tinker with her serve.
Senior Madi Kubik said she’s impressed with Allick’s commitment to being great. She puts in the extra work from mental health to building relationships with her teammates.
“Every single day, she’s the first person in the gym. She’s doing her meditations. She’s on her pre-practice exercises,” senior Madi Kubik said. “She’s just really committed to helping this team be successful and to her growth and success. It’s really awesome to see in such a young player.”
Even amongst a team of veteran players, Allick isn’t afraid to stand out and assert herself. In the first meeting against Northwestern, who the fourth-ranked Huskers play again on Sunday at 1 p.m., she yelled at setter Nicklin Hames multiple times to feed her the ball in the middle of rallies.
“We just started pumping her a little bit more and she was dominating,” Hames said after the match where Allick finished with nine kills. “She just brings a lot of energy and she’s such a competitor. She’s really fun to play with and she brought it.”
Against some of the stiffest competition, Allick has thrived. Against Wisconsin and Maryland – the two top blocking teams in the nation – she recorded 29 kills (3.2 per set) while hitting .545 and adding one block per set. Rodriguez said Allick thrived on the big stage against the Badgers.
On the court, she said she took the Wisconsin loss hard. Even though that was her first loss on the court to the Badgers, Allick still counts that setback among the ones NU suffered while she was a commit.
“It’s hard. Any loss is a tough loss, but losing to somebody, especially someone you haven’t beaten for a long time,” she said. “This program has been a part of my life for a long time. So I take each of these losses personally, and it’s something that you really want to resurrect.”
The dedication to the Huskers is another extension of her personality as Allick is fiercely loyal to those around her. During an interview this week, she wore a sweatshirt from Missouri Southern, where her twin sister, Hannah, plays for the Lions. She was also bursting with excitement talking about her alma mater, Waverly, taking on Omaha Skutt at the state volleyball tournament. (Skutt ended Allick’s prep career in the state semifinals last her, despite 37 kills from Allick.)
For Allick, this is all just the start. She admits that she still has a lot to work on and improve both on the court and off. Her ultimate goal is to be named a captain at Nebraska – the thought of which gave her goosebumps.
“I would probably break down crying at the idea of being named captain of the Husker volleyball team, at least for one season,” she said. “Oh my goodness. I’ll take it.”
HUSKERS ADD 2023 RECRUIT – Nebraska’s No. 1 ranked class added another big piece as libero Laney Choboy committed to the Huskers on Thursday.
The No. 5 ranked 2023 prospect was previously a Minnesota pledge. Last month, Minnesota coach Hugh McCutcheon announced he would be stepping down at the end of the season. She visited Nebraska last week for the Maryland match. She also took a recruiting trip to Texas recently.
The 5-3 defensive specialist from Raleigh, North Carolina, is part of NU’s class that includes No. 2 Harper Murray, outside hitter; No. 4 Bergen Reilly, setter; No. 7 Caroline Juravicious, opposite, and No. 13 Andi Murray, middle blocker. They will sign letters of intent on Nov. 9.
Choboy played with most of her recruiting class at the Pan Am Cup last summer as the United States won the gold medal. NU freshman Maggie Mendelson was the captain of the team. Reilly was named MVP and Best Setter, while Murray was named Best Spiker and Choboy won Best Receiver.