Nebraska Volleyball had a whole lot of fun at the end of Tuesday’s practice. Director of Operations Lindsey Peterson surprised coach John Cook with a carrot cake (his favorite) for his birthday.
“I had no idea she was going to do all this,” Cook said.
When asked how old he is, Cook laughed and said, “I don’t know, day by day.”
It was one of Nebraska’s newest players, Freshman Masie Boesiger, who baked the cake. Bosieger has her own baking business, “Masie’s Pastries.” Cook said he has used her baking skills to treat some recruits during visits.
Before the fun and celebration though, the Huskers had to take care of business. Nebraska will close the spring season with an exhibition match Saturday night against Kansas at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island.
It will be an extra special night for Junior Anni Evans, a Waverly native, who recently was placed on scholarship. She said it was quite an emotional day when she found out the news.
“I feel like it’s still such a surreal experience. I don’t think I have fully grasped the situation, so it is still sinking in.”
This moment meant a lot to Evans, and she worked extremely hard to get to this point in her career. “It just shows that plans work out and hard work takes you a really long way. Evans said”
It had been an emotional few days for Evans, getting the scholarship, telling her family, and seeing the viral video. Evans also said it was really special getting to be able to share this moment with her team. “These are all my best friends, and I wouldn’t want to share this with anyone else”
Coach Cook was asked about how he felt being able to present the scholarship to Anni. “I don’t know how to put it into words.” He said that she has really worked to put herself in this position. ‘Work hard, good things happen.”
Now any team that wants to be successful has to get along with each other and work well together to achieve their goals. Evans said that the team has great chemistry, loves being in the gym with each other and gets after it every day in practice. “It’s infectious how hard we play together.”
Both Evans and Coach Cook talked about how they feel about bringing Nebraska Volleyball to other parts of the state. Evans said it’s special to get to bring the love of Nebraska everywhere since fans out west may not get the opportunity to come to a game in Lincoln. “They support us so much, so being able to give to them is important.”
Cook said he is very proud to be able to take the team around the state. “It sold out in eight minutes. That tells you how fired up people are.” He said it is a big deal to those towns that get to host these spring matches. Cook said he still runs into people who were at the spring match in McCook the last time the Huskers played. “We have already got cities lined up for the next couple years requesting us to come here.”
Cook is it is important to connect with all areas of the state. He recently got a horse named Bud and has been sharing posts about him to try and connect with the western part of the state. “I think it’s really, really important. It’s not just Lincoln, Omaha, club volleyball, it’s this entire state that is part of Nebraska volleyball.”
Now there are plenty of questions surrounding Saturday’s match. One of them being the Status of Senior Kayla Caffey. Cook said he doesn’t know yet if Caffey will play. “It’s a very complicated process,” said Cook. Caffey is waiting on an NCAA waiver to determine if she will be eligible to play this upcoming season and is “match time determined” according to Cook.
Cook did say however that Callie Schwarzenbach is going to step in and play for the Huskers in the spring match. Schwarzenbach is finishing the semester taking classes at Nebraska before transferring to Long Beach State to play her final season with former Coach Tyler Hildebrand. When asked if that was allowed, Cook Replied, “Last I checked we are paying all her bills so she’s training with us.”
Cook also talked about his goals for the team on Saturday. He says it’s more of a celebration of volleyball and to show off the team to other areas of the state.
“I think it’s just a good reward for the end of the spring to be able to go play a match. We know we’re going to have to sign autographs for a long time afterward, but it’s more of a celebration for volleyball in the state. It’ll be good for our younger players to get in front of that environment and that crowd,” he said.
Cook said another goal for the spring match is to try and play everybody. He said it is hard with that many players to try and figure out lineups. “We’ve got a couple more days,” Cook said.
Before the Huskers got back to the indoor season, they had their usual beach season, traveling to places like Hawaii and California.
“Jaylen (Reyes) did a great job of creating a schedule and the weather was great,” Cook said, adding that they played some amazing teams, and the facilities were fantastic. “The Huskers definitely got their money’s worth because there were some days we played three matches.”
Huskers fans will see Senior Nicklin Hames in her new role. She has said in her fifth season she won’t be setting. It will be more of a player-coach role.
“She’s doing a fantastic job. I’ve never seen her so happy,” Cook said. “She’s playing really, really well. She’s being a great leader and I think she’s excited about her fifth year. She talked to me today about when she could start being in coaching meetings. She’s getting excited about her future to go into coaching and getting her master’s program started.”
First serve for Saturday’s match against the Jayhawks is set for 5:00p.m., and will be televised on Nebraska Public Media.