HARKER HEIGHTS — A couple of times Katie Schulte had to rub her checks to ease the tension of her beaming smile. Even as she took pictures and cut the cake several minutes later, there were signs of overuse showing on her bright red cheeks.

Eight days after seeing her high school career end abruptly with a bi-district sweep courtesy of Midlothian, the Harker Heights senior setter was all smiles as she signed a letter of intent to continue playing volleyball at Temple College during a ceremony Wednesday in the school cafeteria.

“It’s just perfect, it’s a perfect match,” Schulte said. “It’s so nice to get to do what I love doing and doing it close near my family so they can experience it with me.”

Surrounded by family, friends and teammates, Schulte was excited to finally be the center of attention after spending much of her on-court time distributing the love to the Lady Knights’ big hitters.

“She’s got the drive that it’ll take to step into that role and Temple is definitely getting them a good setter,” Heights coach Chris Wiley said of Schulte.

Schulte already has experience playing under Temple coach Mary Malone, spending her freshman and sophomore years playing for Malone’s club volleyball team, the Bell County Juniors.

“When I was in 10th grade, she told me, ‘I think you could play college ball if you really work at it,’ so I worked my butt off and here I am,” Schulte said, still beaming with excitement.

Schulte could see time setting to former Ellison and Lampasas outside hitters Megan McKinnon and Hailey Morrison, who recently finished up their freshman seasons at Temple College.

Recently named the District 8-5A Most Valuable Setter, Schulte decimated the school’s single-season record for assists, registering 811 as the team’s lone setter, and finished second on the team with 16 aces, one behind fellow record-breaking senior Anjane Janda and her single-season record 267 kills.

“She was the quarterback,” Wiley said. “To use the football terminology, everybody knows the offense runs around what the quarterback does and that’s what Katie was, she was the on-the-court leader.”

Led by Schulte and seven other seniors, Harker Heights set its single-season record for wins (35) and finished second in District 8-5A (its highest ever placement).

“I fell in love with volleyball my seventh grade year, and when I made JV my freshman year instead of being on the freshman team (I realized) this was something I loved and I was kind of good at it,” Schulte said. “(So I decided that) I’m going to pursue it and try and get as good as I possibly can, and it all kind of paid off.”

Contact Alex Byington at alexb@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7566

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