Lena Kindermann attacks against Poland/Volleyball World photo by Dana Drambarean, @bet.on.her.collective

ARLINGTON, Texas — Germany may be taking its lumps in the Volleyball Nations League, but Lena Kindermann is having a breakout tournament.

“They say she came out of nowhere,” Germany coach Alexander Waibl said. 

Perhaps, but not to him. 

After Kindermann left Jacksonville State, the Alabama school that plays in the ASUN, she joined the German pro team VfB Suhl Lotto Thüringen, where she played the past two seasons. 

“I was hoping to give that a shot and I think it went pretty well for me,” Kindermann said. “I developed a lot.” 

Indeed. Waibl, who has coached Dresdner SC since 2009, took notice of the hard-hitting left-handed opposite.

“I played her pretty often with my club team in the Bundesliga and I was impressed by her power,” said Waibl, who took over as Germany’s coach just five weeks ago. “She’s a powerful lefty and this is something you want.”

The 6-foot-2 Kindermann, who in five seasons at Jacksonville State was a four-time all-first-team ASUN player, had 16 kills for Germany on Friday in its 25-20, 25-20, 25-21 loss to Poland. It left Germany 1-6. The team, 15th of 16 in standings, finishes this second round of VNL on Sunday against last-place Bulgaria.

But for Kindermann, losses aside, she’s having a blast.

“I’d never been with the national team,” she said with a smile. 

“I guess I wasn’t good enough.”

And she smiled again.

The product of Neuenkirchen, Landhagan, on the north coast of Germany across the water from Malmo, Sweden, might be good enough now. 

After seven matches, she has 56 kills, third on the team. One of those kills Friday, a back-row attack, hit Poland’s Martyna Lukasik in the right shoulder and literally knocked her silly to the floor.

German coach Alexander Waibl

“She’s only been with the national team two or three weeks, but she’s a potentially great talent. You can see that she has much to learn about the game. This is the highest stage and you have to be good in serve and defense and block and you have to position how you put the ball into spots. It’s a big load you have to carry but with her spike potential she can be for Germany in the future a very important player.”

Kindermann said playing for Jacksonville State helped her develop a different volleyball attitude.

“Effort is a big deal over here. Not just at my school, but in general,” said Kindermann, who also had an ace, a block and five digs against Poland. “I’ll give you an example. We used to do so many punishments for ball control stuff. It changes your mindset. You just go for a ball and do what you’ve got to do. 

“It prepares you in a different way because you go for balls you don’t want to go for and that you normally wouldn’t.”

Kindermann got her undergraduate degree in English and then her master’s degree in English. And she said she’s enrolled in a German college to get another degree. 

“I have to something after volleyball,” Kindermann said. “I’m sticking with the pro ball now, I guess.”

And she said if an offer comes, she’d play in one of the U.S. pro leagues. 

“Absolutely. I really liked it in America.”

Lena Kindermann vs. Poland/Volleyball World photo by Dana Drambarean, @bet.on.her.collective


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