Size is critical to a volleyball team’s success.
Lindsey Noll, 6 feet 5, fills that role for Missouri. Noll is the tallest player in team history.
“When you play up in the front row, you’re definitely not the exception to tall,” Noll said. “I can hit over the top of my opponents, and I think it also is an intimidation factor. I know that if I was playing against someone taller than me, I would be a little scared.”
Noll will try to intimidate No. 5 Kansas State at 7 tonight at Hearnes Center. The Wildcats (23-3, 13-1) lead the Big 12 Conference.
The Tigers (16-8, 9-6) hope to break the Hearnes Center attendance record of 2,344 set Nov. 1 against Texas A&M.
Noll was not always so tall; she grew 5 or 6 inches when she was in eighth grade.
“It was a bit of a change for me at first,” Noll said. “Because I had never been extremely tall, I had to adjust and I kept growing all through high school.”
Even with the growth spurt a year earlier, Noll played setter her freshman year because of an injury to the starting setter. Noll said the experience of playing three positions, setter, right side and middle blocker, in high school has helped her.
“Last year as a freshman, I didn’t have a starting spot on the team,” Noll said. “But I ended up playing in every single match because I had played a lot of other different positions and I knew what I was doing. So if someone got hurt, I would fill in on the left side or in the middle and I earned the respect of my coaches.”
Despite her height and experience playing multiple positions, Noll redshirted her first season at Missouri. Noll said the decision was the best she has made.
“Coming out of St. Louis, I was a top recruit,” Noll said. “And I thought they’d be like, ‘Oh if she redshirts, she must not be very good.’ But it wasn’t like that at all. Our team was so awesome. ... Taking that year to just practice, I got much quicker and stronger. It was a huge benefit for me.”
Coach Susan Kreklow said Noll developed during that redshirt season, but she is improving.
“Lindsey is improving day by day,” Kreklow said. “What she has been able to do is to continue to develop her game. She has been put in different positions that have given her more opportunities to be successful. And she has certainly done a nice job for our team in those positions and those roles.”