Lindsay Krause is PrepVolleyball.com’s top-rated outside hitter in the 2021 class. Hayden Kubik is the No. 1 pin hitter in the 2022 class. In a couple years, they’ll both be on the same team down in Lincoln. However, on Saturday, the future Huskers found themselves on opposite sides of the net at the SkyHawk Invitational.
Kubik’s West Des Moines Valley team came to Omaha to play in the annual tournament hosted by Omaha Skutt and the two squads faced off in the last match of the day. Skutt came out on top in a sweep to finish the day 4-0 and claim the tournament title, but the two Nebraska commits put on a show.
“It was kind of like a duel,” said Omaha Skutt coach Renee Saunders, a former Husker herself. “Hayden would go up and bang a kill, and then Lindsay would come around and try to hit one harder. It was back and forth. Then Hayden would come and she’d pound one. It’s fun … They’re both very good players.”
Krause had 12 kills on .524 hitting, saving her best performance for last. Kubik matched her with 12 kills, hitting .360.
“She has so many shots,” Saunders said about Kubik. “Take one away, she has another one. Her ball control was really good, her defense was good. She’s another all-around player, and she hits that ball hard; it comes fast. She seemed really poised too. Even when we’d get a good serve at her or get her out of system, she didn’t make back-to-back errors.”
The Tigers finished in third place in the five-team event with a 2-2 record, losing to the SkyHawks and Papillion-La Vista South while beating Lincoln East and St. Teresa’s Academy (Kansas).
“It’s been, I think, 10 years since we traveled out of state to play competition, so it’s been a while since we’ve played Nebraska volleyball and done all that,” Kubik said. “It’s definitely a lot more competitive than Iowa volleyball. I feel like just this tournament we improved by a ton. Our mental game, we got out of our comfort zone and definitely got better.”
Though Kubik hasn’t been committed for long, she and Krause already know each other well. They’ve attended Nebraska camps together, and Kubik has been around the Husker program plenty as her older sister Madi is currently a sophomore at Nebraska.
“I’m super proud of her,” Krause said. “She’s really developed a lot over the years. It’s super fun to play against her because I love just going head-to-head like that, but it’ll be super fun to play with her some day.”
Krause committed to Nebraska before her freshman year of high school, but Kubik’s recruitment went a bit differently. The NCAA changed recruiting rules to limit direct contact between Division I coaches and recruits until after their sophomore year, and the 2022 class was the first to feel the brunt of those changes. Kubik got to see her sister go through the process of getting recruited by John Cook and was fully aware of what the Huskers had to offer, but she wanted to take her time. When June 15 hit, the texts calls started coming in, but two days later she had seen enough and pulled the trigger.
“Nebraska was definitely my top option, so when that time came we took our time,” Kubik said. “We didn’t want to rush it, we wanted to make sure that this was the right decision. When I felt comfortable that all the other colleges were not the same as Nebraska, I made that decision.”
The Kubik sisters got to play together at Valley in 2018-19. Madi was name a first-team Under Armor All-American after averaging 5.1 kills and 2.7 digs per set. As a freshman, Hayden chipped in 3.0 kills and 2.1 digs per set as the Tigers went 41-4.
Last season, with Madi off to Lincoln, Hayden stepped into a bigger role and led the team with 4.2 kills per set as the Tigers went 38-5.
“I like being the go-to player,” Kubik said. “I like getting those sets in tough situations. Of course I loved playing alongside my sister and us going back and forth with kills, but I definitely do like being that go-to player and I enjoyed stepping into that role.”
This season, Kubik is averaging nearly five kills per set and has led the Tigers to a 16-6 record with two regular season matches remaining. When PrepVolleyball.com unveiled its 2022 rankings, Kubik was at the very top of the list.
“I keep it in the back of my mind,” Kubik said about the ranking. “It’s great to have that recognition, but I don’t let it affect me. I’m still going to try to improve and not settle.”
As for Krause, she’s No. 2 in the 2021 class behind only another Husker commit in Eagan, Minnesota, setter Kennedi Orr. With her final season as a SkyHawk starting to wind down, she said she’s looking forward to finally getting a chance to wear the scarlet and cream.
“I think I’m just excited to play for my home,” Krause said. “I love high school and I love my team, but just looking forward I’m just so excited to play at the high level that the Big Ten is but also play in that arena and just represent where I am.”
Before she heads down to Lincoln, however, she’ll get a chance to represent Skutt one last time at the Under Armour All-America match in Orlando on Jan. 1.
Congratulations to our very own @lindsaykrause_ for being pre-selected for the @AVCAPhenom Under Armour All American match January 1 in Orlando! We are proud of you and proud to call you our teammate and friend! #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/xOAb5gUNKu
— Skutt Catholic VB (@SkuttCatholicVB) October 7, 2020
“That was so cool,” Krause said. “I was really happy about it. I think the first time I watched that match I was 12 years old, so I saw that and I was like this is just another thing that I want to be able to do. So just to say I did that too is super cool.”
With players like Krause and Kubik on the way, don’t expect the talent level to drop off any time soon down in Lincoln.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.