Allie Havers had already played college basketball and college volleyball, and then joked (we think) last fall that she was going to play softball for Nebraska this spring.
She isn’t doing that, although it’s not a total stretch. During high school in Michigan she earned all-state honors in softball as a pitcher and shortstop.
But Havers is finishing off a three-sport college career by playing on the Huskers’ beach volleyball team this spring.
After four years on the Nebraska basketball team, Havers joined the volleyball team and got to play in a few matches during the Huskers’ national championship season. Then she decided to keep going and play on the beach volleyball team.
Havers says it’s kind of crazy to think that she’s played three sports in college.
“But I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said. “I’m kind of used to playing three different sports from high school. I’m just really happy I’ve had the opportunity to do it with some amazing people.”
Nebraska played a match against Missouri Baptist on Wednesday afternoon at the Huskers’ indoor sand court, with Nebraska winning 5-0. Nebraska improved its record to 3-4.
Havers played in the No. 5 spot with Jasmine Schmidt, who transferred to Nebraska this semester, and won 21-18, 21-9.
Havers and Schmidt have played together all season at either the No. 4 or No. 5 spot, and have a 3-4 record. Havers likes having a regular partner in beach volleyball.
“I like how you kind of have a relationship with your partner, and it’s just two-on-two and you kind of get to work together and build that relationship, which is pretty cool to me, rather than being on a whole team where you have to kind of figure that out,” Havers said. “I think the game is really cool and the aspect of having to work with different shots to score is pretty interesting to me.”
Havers was considering resuming her basketball career in one of the professional overseas leagues after graduation, but now she's decided she wants to try to become a basketball coach.
The Huskers swept all five matches Wednesday, with Kelly Hunter and Lauren Stivrins winning at the No. 1 spot, Annika Albrecht and Kenzie Maloney at No. 2, Sami Slaughter and Jazz Sweet at No. 3, and Hayley Densberger and Chesney McClellan at No. 4.
Not all the seniors play their final season of beach volleyball, with some choosing to move on. But Havers, Hunter and Albrecht are each playing.
Hunter wasn’t sure she would play, but she enjoys the beach season. She said it’s kind of weird because in some regards the volleyball program has moved on to getting ready for the next season, when the seniors won’t be there.
“For me I get to pass, set, hit, do it all, so that’s a little bit different, as opposed to just setting the whole time, so that’s fun,” Hunter said. “I’m with Lauren, and I love playing with her, so that’s always fun and exciting. And we get to go to Hawaii, so who doesn’t like going to Hawaii. It’s a nice mix from indoor, too.”
Beach volleyball is also good training for Hunter, who hopes to continue to play volleyball for the U.S. national team and professionally. She’s been invited by Team USA coach Karch Kiraly to tryout with the national team in California in May.
“He asked me to come out as soon as I could get there, so that’s good,” Hunter said.
Hunter will be one of several setters with the national team, and there is no guarantee she’ll make the roster for one of the tournaments the team plays each summer.
“It will be different because (the national team) runs a super-, super-fast tempo. Like Minnesota tempo, so that will be a big adjustment for me. Obviously, it’s going to be super-competitive,” Hunter said.
And after her college career is finished, Hunter will be able to work with an agent to find a pro team to play for. Albrecht will also have a tryout with the national team.