It’s no secret that senior Lindsay Krause of Skutt Catholic in Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the top players in the nation. You’ll see that in spades in the coming weeks when VolleyballMag.com releases its 2021 Girls Fab 50 list that chronicles the best senior-age players in the country — the cream of the crop in the 2021 recruiting class.
But let’s talk about the high school game only right now. Krause, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, shined like no other this past fall season. Just ask Skutt coach Renee Saunders, who was the 2016 VolleyballMag.com girls high school coach of the year.
“Lindsay played the best game of her career in her last game,” said Saunders, referring to Skutt’s win against Norris (Firth, Nebraska) in the state-championship match. “Lindsay was hitting over the top of the block, hitting angles, hitting deep shots, hitting line, throwing in roll shots and tips.
“She made it look so easy. It was a joy watching her play her best at the end of her career.”
In that championship-winning performance against Norris, the 6-foot-4 Krause blasted 30 kills and hit .574 in helping Skutt win its fourth state title in a row with her on the roster. The University of Nebraska-bound senior outside hitter finished the season with 432 kills on 774 swings (.475 hitting percentage) in 83 sets, to go with a program single-season record of 88 aces in 390 service attempts. Let’s not forget the 243 digs and 35 solo blocks. Of particular note on the serving front, a Krause-launched serve resulted in Skutt scoring 254 points — a gigantic upswing from the 93 points generated when she toed the line as a junior.
When you roll it all into one, her dominant senior-season performance is why Krause is the 2020 VolleyballMag.com fall girls high school player of the year.
“The state championship this year showed what a well-rounded, dominant player she truly is,” Saunders said. “She did it all. She had 30 kills and hit .574 against a very good Norris team. She also played great defense and was fantastic in serve-receive.”
Skutt senior setter Allie Gray, one of the team co-captains along with Krause and two other players, isn’t baffled in the least bit by Krause’s dominance. She has a simple answer for it.
“Lindsay has a drive unlike anyone else I know,” said Gray, who is headed to Arizona State. “She has this inner desire to be great in all that she does, and it leads to her never being satisfied with any part of her game.”
Saunders explained it like this:
“Lindsay is a standout player because she is driven and never settles for OK. She holds herself to very high standards both on and off the court. She also is a student of the game and a coach on the court. She sees things and understands the game differently than most players her age. Her international and USA Volleyball experiences (she was on the 2019 USA 18U National Team that won the FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship in Egypt) have helped to grow that in that part of her game.”
In a day and age, where awards lists pop up on what seems like every street corner, Krause managed to park herself for four years at the top of one of the sport’s most respected recognition mechanisms, the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star’s Super State team. Krause is a four-time first-team selection there and was the honorary captain of the presentation this season.
“Lindsay is one of the greatest players I have played with,” Skutt senior co-captain and defensive specialist Bre Skala said. “I am so honored to get to be on the same court with her. She has a drive in her where she will push herself to be better, and as she is doing that, she is also helping her teammates out along the way.”
Krause, who also plays basketball at Skutt, made it a priority this year to become a known commodity in the six-rotation-player realm. She succeeded.
“I developed a lot with my serve-receive during the high school season,” Krause said. “That was a big part of me being a six-rotation player. My back-row play has to be almost as good as my front-row play. Being able to develop my serve-receive and back-row defense was big for me. I am fortunate that I have really good coaches. Saunders is a super-good coach and was a big back-row player (Saunders played at Nebraska). She was a great all-around player. I just made it a big focus this year. I wanted to make sure my other skills were as good as they should be.”
Krause was asked if being a strong six-rotation is a badge of honor.
“I really think it is,” she responded. “I think you really have to earn that. There are a lot of great defensive players coach could put in for you. When you earn that distinction of being a six-rotation player, you are just as beneficial in the back row as you are in the front row. It’s not only a big honor, but it’s a big help to your team.”
While Krause tore it up on the court this season, her abilities as a quintessential leader cannot be understated.
“Her leadership was great from start to finish,” Saunders said. “She learned how to be a great leader, and how to take younger players under her wing. She took her game to a whole new level, but she also learned how to lead. Lindsay lived up to all the hype surrounding her and surpassed it this season. She exceeded any expectations people had of her. She is the real deal.”
Gray said there’s no sugar-coating when it comes to Krause — a trait she absolutely loves.
“She’s not afraid to tell you the truth,” Gray said. “She speaks her mind and doesn’t hold back. If I need an honest opinion, I’m going to her.”
Skala adds: “She cares about each and every one of her teammates. Lindsay will push her teammates to be the best and will believe in them, no matter what.”
Krause was a typical kid growing up, trying out different sports.
“I was tall. I have been tall my entire life,” she said, but ultimately, “I stuck with basketball and volleyball.”
Krause added the tall jokes were abundant when she was younger.
“It’s not bad anymore, but when I was younger they were there,” she said. “I didn’t care about it. Now, it’s like, OK, I’m going to play volleyball in college on a scholarship. I guess my tall got me somewhere.”
That somewhere is a seat at coach John Cook’s Huskers table.
Cook has produced a 2021 recruiting class that may be like no other — a virtual certainty to earn the top spot in the VolleyballMag.com women’s college recruiting rankings this spring. That Nebraska class also includes fellow VBM fall first-team All-American Ally Batenhorst, from the Houston area, plus Nebraska natives Rylee Gray (Elkhorn South of Omaha) and Whitney Lauenstein (Waverly, Nebraska). Gray is a VBM second-team All-American pick, while Lauenstein earned VBM honorable-mention All-American honors.
“I am so excited,” she said. “As soon as I got my offer from them I was completely elated. I knew pretty quick where I was going to go. I committed the same weekend I got the offer. Lincoln is only a 40-minute drive. The whole thing is crazy. I went to my first Nebraska game in 2012 and was there at the final four in Omaha when they won in 2015.”
Krause has been an exceptional student at Skutt with a straight-A, four-year resume. Except for that annoying B in Algebra 2 sophomore year, she noted. She said one of the supreme joys for her this past season was banding together with her teammates and fighting through the challenges of the pandemic to reach the top of the Nebraska girls high school volleyball food chain.
“My gosh, what made it so special was completing the season with everything being so unknown with the pandemic,” she explained. “At any time we could have been shut down and not able to finish our season or go to the state tournament. Everybody on our team was dialed in, making sure we were not putting our season in jeopardy and being able to finish it off right. Everybody was committed. It was like nothing else how committed we were to our season and to each other and to what we wanted to accomplish.
“In the summer, we didn’t know if we were going to get to have a season. It was a go, but it was very up in the air if it was going to be shut down or if we could keep going. A big thing for us was at every practice we thought about if we were shut down tomorrow, what would we be left with? It’s a big thing that made us go hard every day.”
Her teammates and coach have no doubt Krause, who plays club for Nebraska Premier, will light it up in short order at Nebraska’s Devaney Center.
“I know Lindsay will make the biggest impact at the next level,” Skala said. “She has already made an impact wherever she has gone, so I believe she will do great things in the future.”
Gray added: “Lindsay is constantly finding little things to improve on that will elevate her abilities to the next level. She will succeed at the next level because of her love for the game.”
Saunders feels the Nebraska-Krause partnership will beneficial for both parties.
“Lindsay will challenge herself to continue to improve, and I think Nebraska will take her to another level,” the coach said. “Her ceiling is high, and I think we have only begun to see her true potential. She is a true competitor, but she also has a super-high IQ. I think she has the ability and the skill set to make an immediate impact at the next level. She has ‘it.’ ”