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Jordan Larson standing with volleyball
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Cook, Krause Dish on Value of International Experience

August 26, 2020

Omaha Skutt standout and 2021 Nebraska volleyball commit Lindsay Krause has missed out on a lot this spring and summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes another opportunity to earn the right to represent the United States internationally.

USA was set to compete in the NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 10-17, but that event has been postponed. Even so, Krause did get some good news as she was named to the U.S. Women’s Junior National Training Team roster back in June.

Whenever the NORCECA U20 Continental Championship is rescheduled, the United States’ roster will be selected from that 21-player training team pool. Unfortunately, however, the WJNTT training period that was scheduled for July 4-10 had to be canceled.

Krause wasn’t the only future Husker selected for the training team, however. Setter Kennedi Orr, libero Lexi Rodriguez and outside hitter Ally Batenhorst — all 2021 Nebraska commits — were also among the players selected. That group has previous international experience playing together as well, and Coach John Cook is hoping that will allow them to arrive in Lincoln with a strong sense of camaraderie.

“We have all those guys in camp, Dream Team Camp way back, so I don’t know if they made a bond there and it just happened to carry over or what,” Cook told Hail Varsity. “I think it’s really important with recruiting classes now you have to have somebody that’s going to help pull those guys together and build those relationships before they get to Nebraska. We’re also recruiting leaders when we recruit, people that will lead a group and pull them together. Hopefully they make those bonds that can become a real strength of the team.”

Krause made her Team USA debut in the 2018 NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championship, earning a spot on the team during a two-week tryout training session. Orr and Batenhorst were also on the team, although Batenhorst had not yet committed to Nebraska. The U.S. didn’t drop a set in the tournament, sweeping Canada in the finals.

In 2019, Krause again made the team as the United States traveled to Egypt to win gold at the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship last September, and this time Rodriguez made the squad alongside her future teammates in Krause, Orr and Batenhorst.

Krause said her time in the USA program has had a big impact on her development as a player.

“It’s crazy how much I’m able to learn in just like 10 days training there,” Krause told Hail Varsity. “It’s crazy seeing how different, I guess — I don’t know if it’s that different, but just how much faster the game is internationally and how important different aspects of the game are in international play. I developed so much and I learned so much just in those few days, so getting the chance to go out there again would be amazing because you learn so much, just things that I never really thought about or never really learned just playing club or playing high school. Just having those high-level coaches be able to coach me, it’s just a great opportunity.”

Before the 2018 Continental Championship, Krause had never left the country.

“It’s crazy,” Krause said. “It’s amazing. I’d never left the country before, so the first time when we went to Honduras, getting to leave the country and also getting to leave the country to play volleyball, it was so crazy. Just seeing these teams from different countries and just seeing this country’s strategy. It’s cool because even these younger teams, they reflect the strategies or the way these teams at the senior level play. So it’s just being exposed to that while being young enough to maybe adapt or take something from them that I could use for myself, it’s just crazy. It’s great.”

Cook said he places great value in that international experience his recruits are able to gain before arriving in Lincoln.

“That’s international competition, it’s playing the best in the world in their age group,” Cook said. “They get to travel all over the world and play. Any experiences they can get outside of high school and outside of club, to me, are huge. If you look at a lot of the great players, the [Sarah] Pavans, Jordan Larsons, we had Rachel Holloway who set for us in 2006, Mikaela [Foecke], Kenzie Maloney, they all played in those USA programs and played overseas in major competitions. It’s a different game, a different ball, different rules, but still it’s a huge experience. It’d be like a football getting to go to in the NFL for a couple games or a month, or a basketball player getting to go overseas. It’s invaluable.”

The Huskers have a strong tradition of sending alumni on to the senior national team as well, and Krause is hoping to become part of that tradition down the road.

“I think that’s anybody’s goal, so just being able to kind of be exposed to it this early I feel like almost gives me — it makes me feel like I not necessarily have a better chance, but it makes me feel like I can do it and that I’ve been exposed to it and I know what they expect of these players and I know the ways that they train and the things that they’re taught,” Krause said. “It’s almost kind of like a head start I feel. I still have to work just as hard as anybody else, but I think it’s really good and I really hope that I’m able to make that team some day.”

Krause has some pretty good role modes to emulate in former Huskers Jordan Larson, Kelsey Robinson and Mikaela Foecke (now Richter) — all of whom have played for the senior national team recently — and she got to see them up close last year.

“Before we left to go to Egypt, we trained in Anaheim for like three days and the senior team was literally like two courts from us,” Krause said. “I was in heaven; it was amazing that I’m practicing on this court and two courts over is the Olympic team. I was just like in awe.”

Krause is missing out on a lot this summer, but she’s already experienced far more than the average 17-year-old and with her talent and work ethic, even more opportunities should come once things start to look more like they did before the pandemic.

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