Kayce Litzau was supposed to be a redshirt. Until she wasn’t


Marshall Sunner

Wichita State freshman Kayce Litzau celebrates with her teammates after winning a point during the match against Tulsa on Nov. 15 inside Charles Koch Arena.

When freshman setter Kayce Litzau was recruited to play volleyball at Wichita State, Chris Lamb had a plan. The plan was to develop the youngster from Greendale, Wisconsin, and have her sit a year and learn.

She was supposed to redshirt.

However, that changed quickly. Lamb saw Litzau’s playing ability early on, and before summer work even started, he knew she would be able to make an impact immediately. He made the decision that she was going to play.

“We scheduled Kayce (Litzau) to redshirt this year,” Lamb said after the match against SMU on Nov. 8. “Right off the bat, we’re like, ‘No, she’s going to play.’ The game was still faster than she was. Setting the faster stuff that we feel we need wasn’t something she had a lot of experience with. We kind of rode the wave early, letting her catch up.”

Litzau ended up recording a career-high 32 assists in the loss to the Mustangs.

Marshall Sunner
Wichita State freshman Kayce Litzau serves the ball during the Shockers’ home opener against BYU.

But it took time for Litzau to get up to speed, as Lamb knew it would. Litzau’s freshman season was full of ups and downs — starting one game, subbing in the next, or hardly stepping foot on the court in others. But Litzau knew her role.

Because of her unique situation, she didn’t have the same amount of time as other players  to prepare ahead of the summer. The system was new to her. She had to learn the play calls a lot quicker. She was thrust into action. But that didn’t stop her.

“I would say that was the biggest shift — I just had to be more on top of my game,” Litzau said. “I knew I was going to work hard no matter what, and give my full effort. That is regardless if I was redshirting or not.

“It was just a mental shift and realization that I had to pick it up quicker than everyone else.”

One thing Litzau said should prove beneficial for her going into next season is experience. That experience can boost her confidence to where she ultimately wants it to be.

“It’s confidence in my abilities and knowing the system and being able to execute it,” Litzau said. “That’s a big part — confidence. It’s just knowing that I can do the sets that they want, make the right decisions, and have the right timing down.”

This season, Litzau recorded 358 assists, which was good for second-best on the team behind only junior McKayla Wuensch’s 434. Litzau appeared in 25 total matches, starting seven of them.

As for the future, Litzau knows there’s still more work to be done.

“It was an overall great learning experience,” she said of her freshman campaign. “It wasn’t necessarily the season we wanted, but we can learn from our mistakes, keep working, and have it be better next year. It can only go up from here.”

Morgan Anderson
Wichita State freshman Kayce Litzau attempts to save the ball during the Shockers game against VCU on Friday inside Charles Koch Arena.