Tom Bean's Lind picks Austin College for volleyball

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Tom Bean senior Kaitlyn Lind announced her decision to play volleyball for Austin College.

TOM BEAN — Going into her senior year Kaitlyn Lind was looking for big things when she took the court, starting back in August all the way through late February.

Whether it was volleyball or basketball, she had been a fixture for two programs that had been taking bigger steps with each season.

The Lady Tomcats broke through in a big way with Lind helping lead the way, and she hopes to continue that type of success as she announced her decision to play volleyball for Austin College.

She chose the local Division III program due to its proximity and head coach Ed Garza.

“I wanted to be close to home,” Lind said. “I already know him pretty well. He founded the club team I play for and been to a bunch of his camps. He’s known me and my game since I was a freshman.”

The middle hitter has been a first-team all-district choice the past two seasons, including during a senior year where Tom Bean had the best performance in program history by reaching the region semifinals for the first time. The only other time the Lady Tomcats had advanced as far as the region quarterfinals was during Lind’s freshman year.

Tom Bean finished the 2020 season with a 22-5 record that included a 14-0 mark in 16-2A to win the district title by four games.

“After our playoff games I realized how much volleyball meant to me,” Lind said. “Austin College is an opportunity to keep playing.”

She was also a second-team all-district selection this past basketball season in helping the Lady Tomcats to a 21-5 mark and ending several droughts — a playoff appearance for the first time in eight years, the first district title they could claim since 2001, which also was the last postseason victory before making the region quarterfinals for the first time since 1987.

“We’ve been working so hard for the past four years,” Lind said. “I had no idea it would be this amazing for both seasons. I knew the hard work would pay off but not to this extend.”

Austin College is 9-6 overall and went 8-6 and in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play, in the current season that was moved from the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team is plays in the SCAC Tournament semifinals this weekend.

In 2019, the ‘Roos went 18-22 and finished third at the SCAC Tournament.

Garza, who is in his 25th season leading the program and last season earned his 600th career victory, is in the top 15 all-time for Division III victories and has guided the ‘Roos to five NCAA D-III Tournament berths, including the Sweet 16 in 2005.

Lind joins Bells’ Jaiden Tocquigny as part of AC’s recruiting class.

“I think he’s bringing in three new middles,” Lind said. “It’s going to be competitive for sure.”