Whitney Lauenstein announced on social media Tuesday evening that she is stepping away from the Nebraska volleyball team.
The sophomore has spent the last two seasons under head coach John Cook as an opposite, appearing in 59 career matches. Lauenstein was limited in her debut season as she came off the bench to provide 62 kills, 24 digs and 22 blocks in 67 sets.
She was the Huskers’ most improved player in 2022. In her sophomore campaign, she was named to the AVCA All-Region Team and was part of the Academic All-Big Ten Team.
“Hi husker fans! I am coming on here to clear the confusion and rumors that you may have heard about my status on the volleyball team!,'” Lauenstein said in a post on Instagram. ‘With that being said, I have thought long and hard about my decision and took the holidays with my family to clear my mind but I have decided to step away from the volleyball team to focus on myself and be with my family and continue to heal due to the passing of my dad.
“I cherish every single moment with my teammates they have grown to be some of my best friends and will continue to be! I will miss playing in (the Bob Devaney Sports Center) with my teammates. It will be something I will remember forever, but I think it’s important to put yourself first before you commit to something big! Thank you everyone for the unconditional love and support the Nebraska fan base is unlike any other.”
Starting as the main opposite, Lauenstein recorded 2.78 kills per set (297 kills), was second on the team with 114 blocks and led Nebraska with 28 ace serves. Her defense was still a work in progress throughout the season, but Lauenstein showed that she possessed All-American talent. That was never more true than her 25-kill performance in a five-set win over Creighton in September.
Lauenstein was a home grown Husker, growing up in Waverly. Switching from a middle blocker to a pin hitter, Lauenstein exploded in her last couple of seasons as she helped the Vikings reach the Class B title game in three straight years. She was ranked as the No. 16 overall prospect in what would be a record-breaking freshman class for Cook and Nebraska.
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Lauenstein’s departure comes after the commitment of Florida transfer Merritt Beason on Dec. 23. With Lauenstein out of the picture, it opens up the last scholarship for Beason. The former Gator will be expected to secure a top role for the Huskers going into 2023 as Beason will compete for one of two spots as a six rotation outside hitter.