Women’s Volleyball Seniors Reflect On Their Penn State Careers
Sometimes, leading by example in film sessions and practice can be just as useful as on-court charisma.
This notion holds true for Penn State’s graduating trio of Carley Muller, Laura Broerman, and Taylor Krause. These seniors weren’t huge parts of Russ Rose’s rotation in 2016, but on a young team that often lacked the fiery voices of years past, their contributions can’t go unnoticed. After all, they did win two national championships in a row as freshmen and sophomores.
“For us, being seniors, we haven’t really had a ton of playing time compared to a lot of other seniors who have come through this program,” Muller said. “I think that it’s really important that we let the underclassmen know, ‘If you don’t always play, there’s another role on the team for you.’”
Muller, Broerman, and Krause – all defensive specialists – typically subbed in to serve the ball for the Nittany Lions, often providing an invaluable spark off the bench. There’s nothing quite like a service ace to rally the troops in women’s volleyball. Rec Hall is always rocking throughout home matches, but the team itself was visibly energized by each of their performances this season.
They finished the season with a combined 46 digs and nine service aces in relief of Penn State’s starters during late-match situations. Broerman discussed how quickly her career’s flown by before the team’s last Big Ten home stand of the regular season.
“It’s kinda crazy,” Broerman said. “I still feel like a freshman, like, ‘I shouldn’t be going into the real world’ in less than a month here. It’s crazy. Time flies fast and you’ve gotta appreciate it.”
Krause and Muller reflected on coach Rose’s teaching philosophy and all the lasting memories from on and off the court that they’ll take with them after their time at University Park is up.
“I think the biggest thing about coach is he not only teaches you to be better volleyball players, he teaches you to be better people. We’ve learned so many life lessons from him that we’ll never forget,” Krause said.
“Something that’s stuck with me has been, ‘Always give more than you receive,’ Muller said. “I think going into life, that’ll be something that I’m always thinking about and constantly wanna do for others.”
These three hail from all over the country, but have created a lifelong bond as teammates the last four years. Krause is from Allentown, Pa., and has a younger sister, Kristin, who’s a freshman on the team this year. Broerman is a Colorado Springs, Colo., native, just like junior middle blocker Haleigh Washington. Muller, on the other hand, hails from sunny Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Krause described the blue-collar mentality that has come to reflect Penn State, the winningest program in women’s college volleyball history with seven national championships.
“For us, it’s really important that they know that we don’t just get handed things. You have to work in order to get them,” Krause said. “Coach does this thing where every 10 wins we get something. Most other programs, you walk in the first day and you just get a pile of stuff. Here, it’s not like that. We just want them to know that everything you get, you get for a reason.”
Penn State (24-10) went down in the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row, losing a 3-2 heartbreaker to No. 1 seed Nebraska in Lincoln on Friday. Heading into Senior Night a few weeks ago, Krause offered up one last piece of advice for the Nittany Lions who will be back next fall.
“I know for all of us, one of the biggest things we’ve been talking about is just soaking it all in,” Krause said. “Soaking in the fact that we’ve been here for four years, and we’ve had our time here. Now it’s our time to help the little ones out and make sure they appreciate it as much as we did.”