It’s hard to miss Kristen Karlik.
She’s the one wearing a different color shirt than the rest of her teammates. That’s because she’s CU’s newest libero (defensive specialist) on the volleyball team, and they are required to wear a different color shirt. It doesn’t bother Kristen that she stands out. In fact, she said she couldn’t be happier to be a Buff.
It hasn’t been an easy last couple of years for the junior Colorado native. She began her collegiate career at CSU, but never felt comfortable with the coaching staff or environment there.
Last fall, as a sophomore, Karlik was excited and ready to start over at Tulane University. Her plans to settle in New Orleans were soon brought to an abrupt halt when Hurricane Katrina wiped out the city. With Tulane’s school year being cancelled, Kristen was forced to move schools once again. Now at CU, her mom, Debbie, has noticed an obvious change in her daughter’s spirits.
“As a mom, that was very hard to know that she was so unhappy and in an unhealthy situation for her. She’s truly happy now, and volleyball has everything to do with it,” Debbie Karlik said.
Her mother isn’t the only one who’s happy Kristen’s a Buff. The volleyball team is off to a great start (5-2 in Big 12, 9-5 overall), and much of the success to Kristen, said head coach Pi’i Aiu.
“She’s helped us in so many ways. Obviously on the court she’s greatly improved our ball control. She’s one of our leaders. She’s one of the kids who’s real talkative out there, who people look to,” Aiu said.
Karlik, a psychology major, is an avid knitter and enjoys watching movies with her roommates. She also performs well as a student and was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.