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Gullo Athlete of the Month -- Klein Collins' Kristen Stehling
August 15, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - North Houston
GULLO | KRISTEN STEHLING
By Austin Staton
It’s not often that high school students enter their senior year knowing exactly where they’ll spend their college years. For Klein Collins middle blocker Kristen Stehling, she knows that volleyball at SMU is in her future. And for her, that takes a load of potential stress off of her senior campaign.
As a junior for the Tigers, Stehling posted 346 kills, 149 digs and 45 aces while registering 81 blocks en route to leading her team to a 13-1 record and a District 13-5A championship. However, it was the first round playoff exit to The Woodlands that has Stehling and the Tigers on a mission this season.
“It was a tough loss for us but it has given us motivation to work harder in the offseason,” says Stehling. “We know that we did lose early in the playoffs and we want to go further than the first round this year.”
With the departure of Texas freshman Molly McCage and other talented standouts from last year’s squad, Stehling admits that the biggest challenge for the Tigers this season will be to fill the defensive void left by last year’s graduating seniors.
“It was tough losing a lot of our seniors who were Division I players,” she said. “We’ll be fine on offense but our defense will be the key to our success.”
For Klein Collins, team chemistry will be another critical component for their team to succeed this season. Stehling says that in addition to working out during the offseason to improve her game, she’s also taken part in a summer league with her teammates to help develop that camaraderie needed to succeed.
“I want to leave this season knowing that we left it all out on the court as a team and that we didn’t have any regrets looking back on our play,” says Stehling. “Win or lose, I want to look back knowing that we gave it our all.”
Next fall, Stehling will enroll at SMU and will likely undergo a position change from middle blocker to outside hitter or right side hitter. To prepare for the transition to the college game, she says she needs to focus on becoming a more versatile player on the floor. But for now, college can wait.
“It’s such a relief to be able to be done with the recruiting process because it allows me to relax heading into my senior year. Hopefully we’ll be able to make a run this season to make our senior year memorable.”