Taylor Krage’s cohorts and coaches contend that what you see with the St. Charles North senior is what you get.
That Krage often could be spotted holding her 1-year-old cousin on the court after North girls volleyball matches supports that claim.
A Northern Illinois recruit and the Kane County Chronicle Girls Volleyball Player of the Year, Krage still is deliberating whether to major in elementary or early childhood education. Until she decides, those associated with her could gladly rave about her athleticism, prompting Krage, once again, to blush.
“She’s never been boastful. She’s never been a cocky player,” North setter Sydney Wohlert said. “She’s always been a player who could crush the ball, but then she’ll look and be like, ‘Oh, OK.’ ”
Krage contributed 322 kills, 237 digs and 28 aces to a North team that won three tournaments, shared the Upstate Eight Conference River Division title with St. Charles East and advanced to the Class 4A Geneva Sectional final.
A three-year starter, the outside hitter noticeably developed throughout her career, gaining savvy to go with the skill packaged in her 6-foot-1 frame.
“Even if the block was all over her, she was so smart to find the floor in other ways,” Wohlert said. “She could tip, she could go to the back line, she could cut it. It was just amazing the things she could do.”
Naturally, Krage credits others for her success, beginning with the North Stars and trickling all the way back to her childhood. She first embraced volleyball early in grade school while watching her older brother, Jordan, play for North. Older sister Ashley, now a club player at Missouri, was next.
North Stars sophomore Daley Krage, the youngest of the family’s four siblings, has brought the Krage connection full-circle.
The way North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins sees it, Taylor Krage’s diligence sets her apart. A family friend well before the three Krages she would later coach entered high school, Hawkins has watched Taylor Krage excel and rarely let up. Three days after North’s season ended with a sectional final loss to Geneva, Krage made the familiar drive to Marengo for her final tryouts with Club Fusion.
“I think of this as it’s been this great journey with her,” Hawkins said. “I’m very sad that it’s over, but I know on one hand that it’s not really over. I’ll always be her biggest fan.”
Krage scored 10, 13, six and nine kills in North’s postseason matches. The small window between the end of the high school season and beginning of club workouts at first kept her from reflecting on the end of her prep career.
Lately, however, the extra windshield time on drives to and from Marengo has steered her to pondering her career and what lies ahead at NIU, which she selected in part for its proximity to family.
“Day-to-day, it’s just like everything else in your life: You don’t even realize it,” Krage said. “But then I look back and think of little 11-year-old-Taylor starting with volleyball. You don’t see it then, but when you look back, leaps and bounds I improved without even realizing it.”
She remains optimistic that more good things are yet to come in college. Her teammates and coaches feel just as strongly.