Freshman traveled country to play beach, indoor volleyball

Tyler Lindgren’s experience helped her earn significant playing time this season.

Freshman setter Tyler Lindgren digs the ball in Temple's 3-0 loss to the University of Maryland on Sept. 14 at McGonigle Hall. | MICHAEL NGUYEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Growing up, Tyler Lindgren would run to her bedroom after school and practice setting a volleyball against her wall for hours at a time.

The Windsor, Colorado native started playing club volleyball at age 9 for Northern Colorado Volleyball Club. She constantly wanted to be surrounded by the sport, so she began playing beach volleyball at age 10 to stay involved in the club offseason. Lindgren competed regularly in beach tournaments in Hermosa Beach, California.

She has traveled to cities like Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, and Salt Lake City to participate in beach and indoor volleyball competitions. She learned to differentiate her skills because in beach volleyball, there are two people on each side of the net, unlike indoor volleyball’s seven on each side. 

“In beach, you have to do everything,” Lindgren said. “You can’t rely on teammates to help you out, you’re always touching the ball and you have to be on all the time.”

In early 2017, coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam watched Lindgren play in two games during a club tournament in Atlanta. After Ganesharatnam sat in on a third game, he approached Lindgren with the idea of her attending Temple. The two stayed in touch leading up to November 2017, when Lindgren signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Temple.

She also received offers from the University of California San Diego and Yale University. 

“Coach and I had a lot of really good interactions before I even came to visit,” Lindgren said. “It was very different from other schools that reached out to me, and I really liked the opportunity to play in a big city for a really good team.”

Lindgren said she was never very tall growing up, which led her coaches to position her at setter, where she still plays today for Temple. As a freshman, she started 13 of the Owls’ 17 matches and is ranked second on the team in assists.

Ganesharatnam said the setter is one of the “most important positions” in volleyball because it demands frequently touching the ball and constant communication with teammates. Last season, the Owls graduated setter Kyra Coundourides – who recorded more than 3,000 assists at Virginia Tech and Temple.

Lindgren has seen significant playing time filling Coundourides’ shoes. Lindgren appeared in all of Temple’s matches this season and compiled 334 assists, 116 digs, and a 29.4 hitting percentage. Lindgren had a career-high 30 assists in the Owls’ 3-2 win against Houston on Sept. 21. 

“As a high school player, it is very hard to adjust to the speed of the college game but we think she has done a tremendous job this season,” Ganesharatnam said. “I think she has everything she needs to be a top setter in this conference.”

“I really enjoyed the strategy of the game and all of the responsibilities that came with being a setter,” Lindgren said. “Once I started to play that position a lot, I really had no desire to play any other position.”

Lindgren played in the 12-year-old division of NORCO Volleyball Club when she was nine. She said older competition came with challenges, but it developed her as a player faster than a lot of players her age.

After playing for NORCO Volleyball Club, Lindgren played for The Diff, a club team founded by her aunt Trisha Kroll in Colorado. Lindgren was a standout player for her aunt’s club, earning the Girls’ Junior National Championship USA All-Tournament Team Award in 2017.

Kroll was a setter at the University of Kansas. Lindgren’s cousin, Eva Linden, is a senior outside hitter at Southern Methodist, which the Owls lost to in conference play on Sept. 23

Family was Lindgren’s motivation to play volleyball. 

“I have a lot of personal goals for myself on the court, but my ultimate goal would be to get us to the postseason every year,” Lindgren said. “I hate losing so whatever I can do to help us win as much as possible would definitely be my top goal.”

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