Taryn Kloth got some good advice from her cousin Dusty Coleman, a former baseball player at Wichita State who is now in the minor leagues.
He told her she’d have a gut feeling if a school was the right place to continue her volleyball career.
Kloth got that feeling when she visited Creighton last spring. This week she told the CU coaches she wanted to be a Bluejay.
“I just love the team and how they treat you,” Kloth said. “You are not just a player. Volleyball doesn’t come first with them. Academics and staying safe and happy come first.”
Kloth, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter who plays all six rotations, has a 4.0 grade-point average and will be a junior this fall at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, S.D.
She started last year for O’Gorman, helping her team to a second straight sixth-place state finish.
Kloth said Nebraska and Wisconsin were among her top three schools and she also strongly considered Minnesota. Other Big Ten schools also were interested.
She loved Creighton and how close it was to home. She just wanted to make sure by looking at some other schools, and she knew she was ready to commit after a recent camp.
She surprised coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth with her decision on the last day.
“She got really excited,” Kloth said. “They were always really high on my list.”
Kloth said she’ll probably redshirt her freshman year to gain strength and put more weight on her 150-pound frame. Doctors project her to grow as tall as 6-5.
Her dad, Mike, is 6-9 and played basketball at South Dakota. Her mom, Tricia Schwartz-Smith, is 5-6.
Although Taryn was always tall, other players caught up with her in junior high and that’s when she developed her passing and defensive skills. She has played for the Kairos Elite Volleyball Club since she was 11, and in eighth grade, coach Mitch Lunning moved her to libero.
“I hated him every single day for that,” Kloth said. “It obviously helped me in the end.”
Kloth, who underwent a big growth spurt her freshman year, said playing defense has helped her read other hitters. She’s developed her own hitting in the past year.
“She’s almost like having a second coach on the court because she knows the game so well,” Lunning said. “She’s a super, super smart kid and a hard worker. Physically, she’s kind of a late bloomer. She is still going to get bigger and stronger. When that happens, she’ll be a very big deal.”