Allick’s Mentality Gives Huskers a Future Star
Story by Shane G. Gilster • Courtesy photos
The Nebraska volleyball program is a factory, annually taking in some of the finest recruits in the nation and churning out wins and All-Americans.
Bekka Allick of Waverly is now on the front-end of the assembly line, signing with the Huskers this past November. Allick, slated to be a middle blocker at NU, is part of a three-player recruiting class ranked No. 2 by PrepVolleyball.com.
Allick is joined by setter/defensive specialist Maisie Boesiger (Firth, Neb.) and outside hitter Hayden Kubik (West Des Moines, Iowa).
“Our Class of 2022 will all enroll early, and they are a very tight-knit group,” NU coach John Cook said. “They are great competitors and teammates, and all three will have a chance to play as freshmen next year. We are super excited to add them to the Nebraska volleyball program.”
The 6-foot-3 Allick ranks as the No. 6 player nationally. She attended Lincoln North Star as a freshman and sophomore and spent her final two prep years at Waverly High, where she owns the school record of 37 kills in a single match.
Allick was also a member of the U.S. U18 National Team and competed at the FIVB U18 World Championships where the Americans finished third. In the bronze-medal match, Allick finished with a match-high 13 kills and three blocks against Serbia.
She also played club for the VCNebraska program. Her 18 Elite team won a national championship, and she was named to the event’s all-tournament team.
“Finally, Bekka is going to be a Husker,” Cook said on signing day. “It seems like she has been committed forever. Being at the top of her position and one of the top recruits overall in this class, Bekka provides us some much-needed depth at the middle blocker position, and we expect her to make a big impact on our team from the day she steps on campus.”
It has been a long road for Allick to get where she is today. Her family moved from Essex, Iowa, and got her into the club volleyball scene with VCNebraska. VCN’s director, Maggie Griffin, played on the Husker 2006 national championship team.
“Bekka started playing for us around 11 years old,” Griffin said. “It was the first experience for her in organized volleyball. She was pretty tall and gangly. But you could tell she was different, she was focused and wanted to be good. She was a perfectionist with a unique mindset. One of those kids that don’t come around very often.”
Allick needed to be challenged, so at VCN she always played up a few age groups. She also experimented with every position. When she was 14, she started drawing interest from Nebraska and others.
“I received my first letter from a school in the state of Washington and my heart just exploded,” Allick remembers. “I framed the letter and showed everyone. It made me realize that people saw me seriously. But I knew I had to keep working because there were girls my age that were doing some things that I still wasn’t able to do.”
Allick was technically offered by Nebraska in eighth grade. She credits VCN, which helped her in the recruiting process, for shielding her from all the college attention at that stage.
It wasn’t determined which position Allick fit the best until she was 16. That’s when Griffin saw that middle blocker was going to be her position in college. They then concentrated on improving position-specific skills.
“If it wasn’t for VCN, I don’t think I would be going to Nebraska because the way they run things is so similar to NU,” Allick said. “VCN was into servant leadership, doing the small things, like there is never a job that you are too big to do, like shagging balls and a policy of always being within 10 steps of each other. I have never seen a club install mature habits in its athletes. Teaching you how to be strong, respectful women, as well as athletes.”
Those principles helped Allick make it through a tough junior year when she broke her leg and missed half the season.
“We were playing Wahoo, she went up and when she came down, she just crumpled to the floor,” said Waverly coach Terri Neujahr. “She didn’t get back to playing until the next March for VCN. It was a six-month rehab process. … She had to do a lot of soul searching and had to pull herself out of the abyss of mental struggles.”
For every athlete, Neujahr said, the hardest part of recovery is the mental aspect.
“She was trying to get on Team USA, to play at Nebraska, all these elite things, and really did a fantastic job overcoming and getting back to the level she was playing at.”
Allick credits her mother, Colleen, for helping her face hardships and challenges. Colleen’s message to her daughter has always been to “Woman Up.”
“She just wanted to get me ready for the real world,” Allick said of her mother. “She is an independent woman, a single mom. One of her pillars of parenting is, ‘You always finish what you start.’ So, if I started a basketball season and hated it within the first month, she told me to stick it out, be respectful, finish it, and then don’t go out next year if you don’t want to.”
Her mental game makes Allick unique. She considers herself a “try-hard” and feeds off high-intensity situations and competition.
“My favorite plays are when everyone is scrambling and taking their biggest swings and chasing balls down,” she said. “It’s like a dog fight, and I like being a dog and getting after it.”
Playing for an elite volleyball program like Nebraska is going to be an adjustment, she said, and there is a lot to learn.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you can’t find your role on the team, it’s never going to work,” she said. “I am all for a challenge, if you’re not being challenged, you are not growing. If you are sitting comfortable at one point, you are going to get worse. I don’t think Cook would have asked me to be on the team if he didn’t think I could compete with the girls. If I am able to beat them out, that just shows that I am progressing at my game.”
Neujahr has high expectations for her former player. She knows what it takes to play at Nebraska having coached under Terry Pettit at NU for two years along with Cook, then a fellow assistant.
“I have the expectation that at some point Bekka will start at Nebraska,” she said. “A small part of me can even see her starting at middle blocker next year. The jump from a high-level high school to college at Nebraska though is immense. But Bekka has that mindset to do it. She could someday become a first-team All-American and then have a shot of being on the Olympic team.”
If all those possibilities come to fruition, Allick knows who ultimately receives the credit.
“I get my talent from God,” she said. “God put this dream in my heart and I have been chasing it ever since.”