NU Volleyball Setter to Retire from Volleyball

A recurrence of a back injury has forced University of Nebraska setter Michelle Lynch to retire from college volleyball, Nebraska Volleyball Coach John Cook announced Monday.

The injury, which is caused by a degenerative disk in her back, caused persistent pain. The Husker medical staff, in consultation with Lynch and her family, decided that the injury would force Lynch, who had suffered hand and shoulder injuries over the last three seasons at Nebraska, off the court.

"It's always a sad day when a warrior like Michelle has to stop competing," Cook said. "She was one of our most respected players because of the perseverance she has shown in battling injuries throughout her career. It's unfortunate that we only got to see Michelle a few times at 100 percent, but at each opportunity, she really helped us win some big matches."

Michelle Lynch, a native of Jacksonville, Ill., will remain at Nebraska and is on pace to receive her degree in biological sciences in May of 2006, as she carries a 3.36 GPA.

"She will continue to be involved in the program throughout her senior year and we look forward to her being part of Senior Night and graduating from the University of Nebraska," Cook said.

Lynch said that although she will no long be on the court, she will be around to support her teammates.

"The toughest part about the rehab was not being on the court with them as they trained and practiced and were getting ready for the season," Lynch said. "I want to be there for my teammates, as they collectively and individually reach their goals."

She also wanted to thank the Husker coaches and fans for their enduring support.

"The coaches have been great throughout the process," Lynch said. "Coach Cook has been with me on endless trips to see the doctor and was there when I found that I could no longer play. The support I've received from the fans has been tremendous. This spring after my shoulder surgery, they would stop and wish me a speedy recovery, and I appreciated that."

Lynch played 84 matches during her three-year Husker career, totaling 973 assists, 119 digs and 93 services aces, while helping NU to three Big 12 titles in her four years on campus. She also exceled in the classroom, where she is a two-time academic All-Big 12 performer and eight-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll.

Last season, Lynch was the Huskers' reserve setter and serving specialist in 2004, helping the Huskers to a 30-2 record, a Big 12 title and an appearance in the NCAA Regional Finals. She ranked seventh in the Big 12 in aces per game (0.34 SA/gm), including a career-high six aces in NU's Big 12-clinching win at Missouri.

She saw her most extensive time in 2003, splitting the starting role with Dani Busboom in the Huskers' 6-2 offense. Lynch led Nebraska with 843 assists (7.21 per game) as she started all 33 matches in helping NU to the regional semifinals. She had at least 30 assists on eight occasions, including a career-high 40 in a match against Georgia Tech. Her 47 service aces were two off NU's single-season top-10 list.

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