PLEASANTON — Katy Lindner doesn’t say much. On the volleyball court, she lets her right arm do the talking.
The 5-foot-11 junior middle hitter has made plenty of noise as she’s led Pleasanton to the state tournament semifinals the past two years.
"She’s that one player that we can rely on for a lot of offense, our offense centers around her, and then she draws blockers and opens up a lot for all of the other girls as well," Pleasanton coach Shane Nordby said.
Lindner led the Bulldogs to a 32-2 record, leading the team with 4.6 kills per set. She hit .378 with only 84 errors in 826 attacks. She also had a team-high 84 blocks.
"We want to get her the ball. She gives us ... the best chance of getting a sideout that anybody would give us," Nordby said. "But she does more than that for us. We set her a couple of times early and it opens up a lot of the other attackers to have success."
Lindner’s overwhelming presence on the court has resulted in her selection as the Kearney Hub Player of the Year for the second straight year.
Lindner said she believes she has stepped up her game from last year.
"I was pretty consistent on what I’ve been working on," she said.
At the top of the list was blocking, but that wasn’t all that was added to her plate this year. She played all six rotations after being used almost exclusively in the front row last season.
"I like passing a lot. It’s just something different to do instead of just hitting all the time," she said.
She also has focused on adding attacks from other positions, such as the slide.
"Obviously, hitting is her strength," Nordby said. "She serves really tough. We could develop a little more consistency, but offense is definitely the strength that she gives us. .... We wish she had a little more killer instinct. She’s kind of too nice sometimes, but she’s getting better at that and developing into more of a go getter and an attacker-type mentality."
By many measurements, Lindner is still in the development stage of her career. She didn’t start playing until she was in the sixth grade and she’s only recently got serious about playing club volleyball with someone besides her Pleasanton friends and teammates.
"Most people will play club in like third or fourth grade. We didn’t really start until like junior high or sixth grade," she said. "Last year I played on Nebraska Gold, and it was my first time playing on a real club team. ... You get to play different schools and you don’t really keep track of wins and losses. You go out and play out as hard as you can and no one really judges anything."
Playing with the Nebraska Gold has given her the opportunity to go against players from other schools and be seen by more college coaches.
"It (volleyball) has given me a lot of opportunities, like I’ve never imagined I’d be able to go and play for college sports team or anything. But after playing it, I’m being looked at by colleges, which is nice," she said.
Before moving on to the next level, Lindner has some unaccomplished goals in high school. She wants to go to the state tournament and finish on top.
Her state tournament experiences have been the highlight of her career.
"It’s always fun to go down there with the team and just compete. And the whole community will show up and help support us, and you’re gonna see way more people and different competition," she said.