BATENHORST: The Best Ever in the Bayou City
Some athletes you have to see in person to appreciate how good they are.
I made the case earlier this year for North Shore QB Dematrius Davis being the best high school football player in the history of Houston. I'm pretty much dead on as Davis is tracking for his third-straight State Title while breaking ankles and throwing dimes on opposing defenders.
Well, here's another hot take.
Seven Lakes' Ally Batenhorst is the all-time best volleyball player in the history of Houston.
"Yep, for sure," coach Amy Cataline said. "She can pass, she can serve, she can hit. She leads and plays with such heart. Absolutely."
Don't just take her coach's word for it.
At 6-foot-4, she has insane athletic ability and power. She's a great teammate. She is a Regional Qualifier in track and really started her athletic career as a basketball player at a young age.
"Ally didn't really like contact, so basketball wasn't her thing," dad Kurt Batenhorst , who played college at Nebraska Wesleyen laughed. "But to be this good? You can never really tell until you get into high school. She's just very versatile for her size. She's pretty dominant.
"I use this analogy about Ally," he said. "She is so different than my other two. She's like a duck on water. She looks cool and calm on the surface, but underwater -- a duck's feet are going 100 miles-per-hour. She's thinking about the next play and beyond. She's a real student of the game."
Batenhorst has tallied over 2,300 kills and just set the UIL state tournament record for kills in a match – 36 total in a win over San Antonio Reagan.
"What's so funny is to see how violently she hits the ball. Like, she's dangerous," Katy Times sports editor Dennis Silva said. "To know how nice she is and how even-keeled her personality is, you think – where does that power come out of her?"
Ally, along with her sister Dani, led Seven Lakes to the state finals as a freshman. She was VYPE's Player of the Year… as a ninth-grader.
"I was pretty hard on her when she was a freshman," Dani, who currently plays at Gonzaga, said. "It was a great experience to play with her back. Imagine playing the sport you love with your best friend.
"I just tried to show her how much hard work plays into being a great player. She found her way and has become the most dominant outside hitter out there. I've seen a lot of them."
Dani continued: "When she's on the court, her teammates are calm and trust her. They want to match her ability and that brings up everyone's level of play."
Ally's legend, however, was already cemented years before that run to state.
"She was playing with Houston Juniors and they won Nationals that year," Kurt said. "She was playing middle and (Nebraska coach John) Coach Cook approached her and said he'd like her to play as an outside hitter on his team."
She was in the seventh grade…the seventh grade!!!
"That just gave her so much confidence and comfort that this was going to be her future," he said.
The offers poured in and so did the accolades.
She is the No. 1 prospect in Texas and the No. 3 overall prospect in the country by PrepVolleyball.com
She will be a two-time Under Armour All-American and was a member of the 2020 US Women's National Training Team.
While she wants to win, especially a state title this weekend, Ally just beats to a different drum. When you are that good, you always have haters. You may even be a bit cocky, but it's tough to find a person who doesn't like this kid.
"She loves the camaraderie of the sport and loves to celebrate after every play," Kurt said. "Her best friends are from volleyball – high school and club. Win or lose they shake hands and enjoy each other's company, mostly over candy. They love candy."
Sugary sweet, who kills for a living.