By Lincoln Arneal
Bekka Allick’s Nebraska debut was legit.
At least that’s the word the freshman middle blocker chose to describe her first career game.
Allick looked like a veteran as No. 1 Nebraska made quick work of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a 25-15, 25-16, 25-9 win Friday afternoon at the Devaney Center.
Allick, who committed to Nebraska before her freshman year of high school, didn’t disappoint as she finished with seven kills on nine swings to go with five blocks in her debut. The Waverly graduate said she usually doesn’t get nervous before matches but admitted to a few jitters in her debut.
“I can’t explain to you the feeling once we come back out in our jerseys. Then it sinks in,” Allick said. “During warmups, I felt good, but I can say that this time I did actually get a little nervous. So I cracked just a little bit.”
Madi Kubik’s 11 kills paced the Huskers, who hit .388 as a team. While Kubik committed five hitting errors, the rest of the team committed just two on 51 attacks. Sophomore setter Kennedi Orr amassed 26 assists.
NU’s block dominated the net and forced the Islanders to finish in the red for the match with a -.021 hitting percentage. Sophomore opposite Whitney Lauenstein and senior transfer Kaitlyn Hord recorded seven blocks each as the Huskers totaled 12 stuffs as a team.
Cook said NU has a chance to be an exceptional blocking team this season.
“We work really hard on it,” he said. “Look at Whitney, she does nice things and she’s really physical. Kaitlyn Hord has already proven herself. Madi’s proven herself. Lindsay Krause is a good blocker. Ally (Batenhorst) is a really good blocker. Kennedi upgraded us from where Nicklin (Hames) was blocking. The other question mark would be the middle blocker spot. Both Maggie (Mendelson) and Bekka for freshmen are really good blockers. So that should be a strength for us”
Behind the block, sophomore libero Lexi Rodriguez anchored the defense with 12 digs, while Hames added eight.
After a quiet first set with one kill on one swing, Lauenstein went off to start the second set. She recorded two blocks in a run of four straight NU roofs. Then she went off with two power swings that resulted in kills before capping a personal 3-0 run block and demolishing an overpass for another kill.
Lauenstein, who is also a Waverly graduate, finished with eight kills at a .368 clip.
“It feels good (after the big kills), especially since when I turn around my teammates are all like, ‘Let’s go!’ So I feel super good,” Lauenstein said.
The one area Cook wants NU to improve is serving. The Huskers committed 10 service errors compared to just five aces. Corpus Christi also struggled with nine serving miscues.
Cook said they needed to set Hord more as she had five kills on six swings. The Penn State transfer provides a lot of experience and doesn’t panic.
“I would pay to watch her play,” he said. “I feel like the game is in slow motion for her. She’s just very smooth and I’d want her as a teammate if I was playing.”
Freshmen Maisie Boesiger and Hayden Kubik also made their NU debuts. Boesiger served a couple of points for NU in the third set and Kubik ended the match with her first career kill.
Allick, who is Hayden’s roommate, was excited to see her end another match after she had the final point in the spring exhibition against Kansas.
“Right before the play, I’m like, ‘All right, let’s get it roomy,’ with a little fist bump. It was just awesome to see your friends crush it. … Hayden strikes again. So I thought that was really cool.”
The Huskers are back in action Friday night against Tulsa and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. versus Pepperdine.