High School Volleyball

Batenhorst excited for final chapter as Spartan

By Dennis Silva II | Sports Editor
Posted 9/22/20

The No. 3 ranked volleyball prospect for the Class of 2021 seems more confident these days, surer of herself on and off the court.

That is not good news for opposing blockers trying to solve the riddle of Seven Lakes senior outside hitter Ally Batenhorst.

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High School Volleyball

Batenhorst excited for final chapter as Spartan

Posted

The No. 3 ranked volleyball prospect for the Class of 2021 seems more confident these days, surer of herself on and off the court.

That is not good news for opposing blockers trying to solve the riddle of Seven Lakes senior outside hitter Ally Batenhorst.

Batenhorst has been a dominant force through the first four games of this season, even more so. She is averaging 6.9 kills per set in leading the Spartans to a fast 4-0 start.

“I’m just working hard, getting into a rhythm with my new teammates,” Batenhorst said. “Just having that energy and staying consistent is what we need to do. We didn’t lose that many seniors, so having that year under our belts will help us a lot.”

The 6-4 Batenhorst is in a comfort zone. She knows she’s headed to Big 12 powerhouse Nebraska, with plans to join the vaunted Cornhuskers program in January after graduating high school early in December. She knows she’s a force to be reckoned with. She knows her team is a force to be reckoned with.

The Spartans have a lot going for them. Batenhorst is the headliner, but younger sister and SMU junior commit Casey Batenhorst is a talented setter, and the team has persistent playmakers in sophomore Grace Lanier, junior Emma Schroder, senior Mayo Olibale and senior Peyton Sykes.

“It’s real exciting,” Batenhorst said. “It’s sad I have to leave. It’s been four years with Coach (Amy Cataline) and it’s just insane how fast it’s gone. But I’m also super excited to finish strong.”

Batenhorst is working hard to be smarter on the court this season. Her approach to her attacks is something she wants to fine-tune before college.

“I’m just trying to be smart with the ball,” Batenhorst said. “A lot of times, I just hit as hard as I can. This year, I’m trying to be a bit smarter. Seeing the block more, seeing what’s open. Doing different hits, going more inside.”

It’s working. Batenhorst is hitting at a blistering 37.3 percent, by far a career best. Her previous best was the .283 mark she hit during her freshman year.

“She’s more versatile, being that she can move anywhere along the net and get a good swing,” Cataline said. “She’s more flexible with the different options along the net.”

Batenhorst is also a better leader, another sign of how comfortable she’s feeling. Prior to this season, she had a tendency to let the upperclassmen and seniors take the reins of the team. That’s no longer the case.

“Her experience has shown her that she can be that leader, she can be that voice,” Cataline said. “Early on, I think she was afraid to step on toes. She’s always kind of just stayed in her lane. As each class has graduated, it’s kind of given her more permission to lead.”

Batenhorst admits she was “kind of new to everything early on” in her high school career.

“I was in everybody’s shadow for a little bit, being younger,” she said.

But now she knows she’s the face of one of the top programs in the region. She’s stronger physically, more vocal, smarter and simply knows the game better.

“It’s all come together,” Batenhorst said. “Now I’m comfortable. I had always struggled being vocal and asserting myself as a leader, but over the years through club and (Junior Team) USA and playing here, I’ve grown into that. I know my leadership role is important, and Coach Cat pushed me to do that.”

With her physical and intangible skills meshing at just the right time, Batenhorst has one last mark to leave before leaving.

“I really want to go to state again,” she said. “It’s been two years and I so badly want to go back. With our team, and the way we’ve been training, I think we really have a shot. I’m really confident in that.”

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