Nebraska was well-represented when PrepVolleyball.com rolled out its 2021 player rankings last week. At the top of the class is Kennedi Orr, the setter from Eagan, Minnesota, who will play her college ball at Nebraska. Right behind her is Lindsay Krause, the outside hitter from Omaha Skutt who has helped the SkyHawks win the last two class B state championships.
Ally Batenhorst, an outside hitter from Katy, Texas is No. 3. Lexi Rodriguez, a libero from Serling, Illinois, is at No. 10. Whitney Lauenstein, an outside hitter from Waverly is at No. 16. Rylee Gray, a middle blocker from Elkhorn South, rounds out the class at No. 70. The Huskers have the top recruit in the country at setter, outside hitter and libero.
“I think it’s crazy,” Krause told Hail Varsity. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this, the amount of high-level recruits we have in this one class. I think it’s crazy that we were able to get this many amazing players into one class and I really hope that we’re going to be able to get in there and do some damage. I’m just really looking for it.”
Krause still has one more year of high school before she heads down to Lincoln, but she lost out on the 17U club volleyball season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A huge part of the volleyball calendar was essentially wiped out just a couple weeks after it began.
“Oh my gosh, honestly it was awful,” said Krause, who plays with Premier. “It seemed like it was an abrupt thing almost. We knew it was kind of happening but we didn’t know the full scale of what was going to happen. I think the first thing that got canceled was we were supposed go to Denver for [Colorado] Crossroads that weekend, and that got canceled and then basically everything after that kind of just got canceled. It definitely sucked because I love my club team so much. It was very unfortunate to not get to play with them for the entirety of the season. But then after that it seems like it just became very real. It was weird because I had never gone that long without playing.”
Typically, Krause’s spring would be busy with practices, tournaments and camps, giving her plenty of opportunities to improve her game. Suddenly, starting in mid-March, all of that was gone.
“March, April and then most of May, we couldn’t do anything; that was when pretty much everything was closed,”Krause said. “I’m someone who can’t really sit still for that long, so it was hard. I love working out and I love doing all that stuff, but I’m so bad at finding things to actually do. So I was like doing everything I could to just try to move. We finally got to start up doing high school stuff again — I think it was the end of June. We were definitely very rusty I hate it when that happens and I always want to be perfect all the time … Getting these last few months to just get back into the swing of things has been good.”
Limited gym time aside, Krause is fortunate in that she’s already committed and knows where sh’ll be playing at the next level. Others in her class aren’t so lucky.
“A lot of talk was how unfortunate it would be for those players that have not been recruited yet or haven’t committed anywhere and this was going to be a year for coaches to go out and see them,” Krause said. “I was very fortunate that I didn’t have to worry about that and kind of the only thing I had to worry abut was my personal development and just kind of getting back in the game.”
A lot of that development is focused on improving her passing, a skill in which Coach John Cook places great value. Krause has played at a high level in club ball and has also played overseas with the USA Junior National Team program and she’s seen first hand just how important really is.
“I think passing is always the biggest thing that changes when you’re at any level because the older you get, the more vital serving is,” Krause said. “The serving gets a lot tougher and in hand with that is the passing, you need to be a lot better passer. So I always make that a focus as an outside hitter and then always make that a focus of going to the next level to play at a high-level division I school is just really focusing on developing my passing.”
Krause said her goal is to be a six-rotation player at Nebraska early in her career, something that reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Madi Kubik just accomplished this past season.
Krause said she has a strong relationship with the Nebraska coaches and talks often with them, and that hasn’t changed with the departure of Kayla Banwarth to become the head coach at Ole Miss. Banwarth was Cook’s recruiting coordinator before she left, and now assistant coach Jaylen Reyes has taken over that role while interim assistant and future volunteer coach Kelly Hunter has been active as well.
“We’ve always had a super good relationship,” Krause said. “We talk pretty often. With Kayla leaving, that was definitely sad but I was happy for her to get that coaching opportunity. She was the main communicator I think before, and so now Jaylen having that role, we have just as good of a relationship. And Kelly is super easy to talk to. We talk to them pretty often.”
Nebraska is her future, but Skutt is her present and for the time being she’s doing what she can to prepare for her senior season — whatever that may look like. If Nebraska is able to hold varsity competition in the fall, Krause thinks her SkyHawks will have a good shot at winning another state title.
“We return most of our team,” Krause said. “We definitely lose Megan [Skovsende] on the outside and we lose a pretty good DS. I think we’re returning a lot of players and then Shayla [McCormick] being able to come back from her injury, I think we should be in pretty good shape. Though I think there will definitely be some good teams in Class B. Norris will definitely be very good, they return most of their team, and then Waverly should be good I think we have a pretty good chance but there definitely will be some good teams to beat.”
Stay locked in to Hail Varsity for more from Krause in the near future on her experience in the Team USA program.
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.