Freshman volleyball player Callie Schwarzenbach is a perfectionist.
For her, playing well never seems to be enough. But striving for perfection is what makes Schwarzenbach’s work ethic strong and what shows up on the court.
Schwarzenbach was one of the top recruits in the country for the 2018 graduating class. Naturally, the reigning national champions went after her. PrepVolleyball ranked Schwarzenbach as the No. 10 overall recruit for the 2022 recruiting class and she proved her worthiness of the ranking after just one quarter year of college.
The middle blocker has started 21 of the 22 matches this season and played in all 83 sets. As middle blocker, her main focus is keeping that ball from coming past the net. Her 125 total blocks lead the team and she also has nine solo blocks and 116 block assists, holding the No. 10 spot in the nation for blocks per set at 1.49. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stivrins doesn’t even come close to Schwarzenbach’s totals, with only 86 total blocks on the season.
Schwarzenbach doesn’t just specialize in blocking, as she has made quite the appearance in offensive plays as well. She has accounted for 153 of Nebraska’s points and 86 kills so far this season. She is also averaging 1.04 kills per set and hitting .313 percent.
Being this competitive has not been easy for Schwarzenbach. She remains humble in playing, and her teammates have learned to adapt to someone with a mindset like Schwarzenbachs.
“Usually, I don’t like to tell people that I am a perfectionist and that I try to be perfect all the time,” Schwarzenbach said. “I told the team about it and it has felt a lot better than I thought it would be.”
Schwarzenbach said the team now knows how to talk to her in different situations and her teammates have helped build her confidence in games and in practice.
Stivrins has played a large part in building that confidence. Stivrins was in Schwarzenbach’s shoes just a year ago and Schwarzenbach sees her as someone she can count on to get her head back into games.
“She knows how to talk to me during certain situations and especially during the game that makes me think more positive and gets me into the game more,” Schwarzenbach said.
Nebraska still remains one of the top defensive teams in the Big Ten. Schwarzenbach said one thing the team struggles with is committing and being confident in those final points.
Head coach John Cook recognized the team’s struggles during press conference on Monday, but said the team is working to finish games like it starts them.
“We just need to make better decisions at critical times, and that comes from experience, youth and there is a lot of new people out there and new situations,” Cook said.
For Schwarzenbach, being confident in herself and her skills is what brings her more confidence at the net. After talking to coaches and teammates on what she needs to do, Schwarzenbach found building her confidence in practice and games will make her the best player she can be.
“I have talked to the coaches about how they have talked to me about having that confidence is going to help me especially since we are getting closer and closer to the tournament,” Schwarzenbach said.