By Mark Maxwell
The St. Charles North Stars volleyball team is a perfect 9-0 this year, and Taylor Krage is a big reason why.
At the Plainfield North Invitational Tournament, Krage recorded 44 kills and 14 blocks in just three games, leading St. Charles North to a tournament championship.
When Krage learned that she was named the Allstate Athlete of the Week, she instinctively gave all of the credit to her teammates.
“We have a lot of depth this year. It has really helped,” she said. “There's a lot of worthy athletes around here and throughout the state. We all joke that football gets all of the attention in the fall. It's really nice that volleyball is getting some of that now too.”
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Even though Krage was self-effacing, coach Lindsey Hawkins didn’t hesitate to praise the outside hitter.
“She is a true team player. She has the ‘it factor,’” Hawkins said. “She's the total package. She works hard day in and day out. She's always giving 110 percent. She's a great leader. She's always giving it her best effort, so the girls just follow suit.”
In relentless pursuit of excellence, Krage holds herself to a very high standard.
“I think I'm really driven by my own mistakes,” she said. “I really don't like making them. I've been working on bouncing back from them. It makes me really driven for perfection.”
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The North Stars know they have a special season in the making. Hawkins is happy with the fast start but not yet satisfied.
“We know that we have a lot of things to improve on,” Hawkins said. “Every single day in the gym, we're working on the things we need to get better on.”
Krage has bought into her coach’s message, and her example has influenced her teammates.
“(Taylor) knows that we have to get in the gym and improve every single day,” Hawkins said. “The fact that she comes to work hard every single day is definitely rubbing off on the other girls, which is so important because we are a young team.”
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Clearly, her work ethic has paid off. Krage remained modest as she talked about the impressive start to the season.
“This is just a really great opportunity for the team, and we're really excited to see how far we can go this year,” Krage said.
Several colleges expressed interest in Krage, but the senior chose to play at Northern Illinois.
With tears in her eyes, coach Hawkins said, “I'm going to miss Taylor next year. She's meant a lot to me.”
There is still a lot of volleyball left for St. Charles North this year. Their next match is at Batavia (4-4) on Tuesday, Sept. 10. IHSA Regional tournament play begins on Oct. 30.