High School Volleyball

Batenhorst, Spartans dominate Cougars to advance to regional quarterfinals

By Dennis Silva II | Sports Editor
Posted 11/23/20

At this point of the high school volleyball season, when stakes are the highest in the postseason, the best of the best often show off. And Seven Lakes senior outside hitter Ally Batenhorst, Under Armour All-American and the No. 3-rated recruit in the nation for the Class of 2021, continues to rise to the occasion.

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High School Volleyball

Batenhorst, Spartans dominate Cougars to advance to regional quarterfinals

Posted

At this point of the high school volleyball season, when stakes are the highest in the postseason, the best of the best often show off. And Seven Lakes senior outside hitter Ally Batenhorst, Under Armour All-American and the No. 3-rated recruit in the nation for the Class of 2021, continues to rise to the occasion.

Batenhorst says she’s playing as well as she’s ever had at Seven Lakes, and it’s showing. The 6-foot-4 Nebraska signee totaled 22 kills and four aces in leading the No. 4 state-ranked Spartans to an easy 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-20, 25-16) of Cy-Creek in their Class 6A area playoff matchup Monday evening at the Merrell Center.

Batenhorst was particularly incredible in the second set with 10 kills and two aces.

“I’ve tried to be quicker on the court and smarter with shots,” Batenhorst said. “I’ve been with these girls a while. We’ve kind of grown together, we know each other’s place on the court and we’re staying disciplined.”

Coach Amy Cataline, who has coached Batenhorst all four of her years on varsity at Seven Lakes, said it has been special to watch Batenhorst play at such a high level.

“It’s exciting,” Cataline said. “It feels extra special to see her succeeding and being a leader on the court. She’s consistent and confident and playing with a ton of passion and heart. She’s doing great.”

The Cougars, like the majority of teams in Region III-6A, had no answer for the power swings of Batenhorst. And while Batenhorst was exceptional, the Spartans as a whole looked like a fine-tuned machine.

Seven Lakes’ most dominant set was the first, and Batenhorst only had three kills. But she was buoyed by the efforts of senior middle hitter Katalina Teahen and junior right-side hitter Emma Schroder.

The 6-foot Teahen has evolved into a reliable contributor in the Spartans’ attack. When Seven Lakes is passing and digging at an elite level, like it was against Cy-Creek, the ball often finds Teahen because she always makes herself available as an attacking option from the middle.

Teahen finished with five kills, tied for second-most on the team with Schroder.

“She works so hard. She’s up on every ball, blocking as fast as she can,” Batenhorst said of Teahen. “She’s super focused and she’s very consistent. She hits smart. She sees the block and hits around it and tries to find spots that are open, instead of just hitting as hard as she can.”

Against a balanced Cy-Creek club, Seven Lakes played clean volleyball. The Spartans look like the powerhouse team they were before a 2 ½ week break last month because of COVID-19 marred their rhythm.

Batenhorst said they’re even better than the team that had only lost one set all season prior to the suspended play. The Spartans are 21-1 heading into their regional quarterfinal later this week against either Cinco Ranch or Cy-Fair.

“We have more momentum now,” Batenhorst said. “We want to go to state so bad. We go into practice focused on getting better, knowing our goal and just set on what we have to do to get there.”

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