The COVID-19 pandemic has robbed people of many opportunities over the past 14 months. Among them for new Husker Lindsay Krause was the bulk of the 2020 club volleyball season.
Krause played her club ball with Premier Volleyball alongside best friend and Creighton commit Norah Sis (Papillion-La Vista), Notre Dame commit Phyona Schrader (Ankeny, Iowa) and several other talented players.
Premier only squeezed in a couple fo local tournaments and one major travels tournament before the pandemic shut everything down. With the country in a better place this spring, however, club volleyball made its return and Krause got the chance to compete with her teammates one last time before heading down to Lincoln.
“It’s very fun, especially because our season’s so long and I get to have a relationship with these girls, and a lot of them I’ve been playing with for a really long time,” Krause told Hail Varsity. “Being able to close out our season and go out the way that we did, it was just super special.”
The club season ended well (more on that shortly), but it wasn’t the perfect ending to her high school athletic career by any means. Krause went out for basketball at Omaha Skutt this year and was averaging a double-double for the SkyHawks while also playing club volleyball at the same time. However, an awkward landing during a match at a tournament in late January led to a knee injury that sidelined Krause for a couple of months.
The injury ended her basketball career and cost her much of her final club season, but Krause viewed it as something of a blessing in disguise.
“It was difficult, especially for me because I’d never been seriously injured before,” Krause said. “So I had never really known what that was like, and I guess for me, I don’t want to say I deserved it, but it was definitely something that was coming, especially the way that I was pushing my body. I was playing basketball for high school full-time while playing full-time club volleyball at the same time. I’m kind of at the age where I can’t really do that any more. I guess I thought I still could and I really wanted to push myself to do it, and I kind of thought it was more a mental thing, like I have to push myself, I can’t just give up because I’m tired and stuff like that.
“But it hit me that it gets to the point where I need to take care of myself. So it’s kind of like a good thing the it happened. I’m super sad that I had to miss out on my basketball season and a big chunk of my club season, but I think if I hadn’t learned that lesson that it could have led to a more serious injury in the future.”
Fortunately, Krause managed to make it back in time to compete with her team at the season-ending USA Volleyball Girls 18s Junior National Championship. The 6-foot-4 outside hitter wasn’t fully cleared to jump and hit like she normally would, but being able to contribute, even in an unusual role, meant a lot to Krause.
“It honestly meant the world,” Krause said. “I was super stoked even though I wasn’t allowed to play front row, I was super happy that I was allowed to be on the court in general because for me, even if I’m not playing outside hitter and doing things that are my normal skills, I think my voice and just being present on the court, it’s really good for my team. I was really happy to help in whatever way they needed me, in whatever way I could.”
Krause suffered the injury on Jan. 31, and she returned for the first time as a serving specialist and a defensive specialist in a warm-up event for Nationals on April 18. At Nationals, she played mostly libero. In addition to Krause being limited, Premier traveled to Columbus, Ohio, without a couple of regular players because of conflicts (Krause skipped her own senior prom to make the trip) and pulled up a couple younger players for depth.
“It’s super crazy just having a team thrown together like that,” Krause said. “I think it helped us even more because in a way it gave us that boost that we were going in there with no expectations. We still had our core group of girls together, so we knew we could go in and we could do well, but I don’t think any of us went in there expecting to win the championship or anything like that. I think that it helped us in a way and it just pushed us to go further.”
In fact, it pushed them all the way as Premier Gold went out on top by taking home the national championship, defeating the second, third and fourth seeds in the tournament along the way. Between two qualifying events and Nationals, Premier Gold went 21-6.
— Premier NE 18 Gold (@Premier_18Gold) April 25, 2021
After winning four state titles with Skutt, Krause can now call herself a national champion as well.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for her or her teammates during the tournament, however, as they adjusted to arguably the best offensive threat in high school volleyball playing strictly back row.
“Honestly, getting used to the rotations was really confusing for me,” Krause said. “It was honestly a little bit more confusing for my setter because there were a couple different times when if we were really out of system or something when she just had to set someone, she’d set me and I’d be like ‘I’m not allowed to jump.’ I’d just have to stand and free-ball it over because I wasn’t allowed to do it.”
Krause used the tournament and her new role as a learning experience. It allows her to see the game from a different perspective and provided some valuable defensive reps to prepare her for what’s going to be asked of her down in Lincoln.
“Obviously every single position on the court is super important to the success of the team,” Krause said. “So being able to see the game and kind of watching it from a different perspective, you get to learn a lot and I can apply that to my game in the future. Playing libero, I’m not ever the one actually up hitting but I’m the one that gets to look at the other side of the court every single time my hitters are hitting, so I get to learn and see stuff like that for when I am able to go back and hit.”
Krause got cleared to jump and hit before the tournament, but with the number of matches squeezed into three days they decided it was best for her to easer herself back into action. She moved into her dorm on Sunday and will be ready to get back to doing what she does best once Nebraska’s summer workouts start up.
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.