Schau discovers new role

The junior has seen more time on the Gophers back line so far this season.

Setter Katie Schau bumps the ball while playing against Indiana in the Sports Pavilion on Oct. 28, 2015.

Joe Sulik, Daily File Photo

Setter Katie Schau bumps the ball while playing against Indiana in the Sports Pavilion on Oct. 28, 2015.

Emily Polglaze

Junior setter Katie Schau may not be playing her usual position in her third season with the Gophers, but she’s found new ways to contribute to the team. 
Schau has played in all of No. 4 Minnesota’s 88 sets and is currently registering .43 assists per set. 
“Katie’s coming in and helping out defensively and serving well for us and also setting and transitioning,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “She’s developed a nice little role for herself and for us.”
Schau has been a primary contributor to Minnesota’s setting unit since her freshman year in 2013. 
Schau came in second in assists on the team her rookie season with 296 and had the most for Minnesota last year with 667.
Her stats look different this year, but Schau is making an impact outside of her usual position. 
Schau has started the past two matches for the Gophers and five total so far this season, though not at setter. 
Schau has been practicing and playing in matches in the back row, where she’s been sharpening her defensive play. 
“I still get to set, but I also take time to work on being the [defensive specialist], which is where I play in the game,” Schau said. “I get to split my time a little more easily between the two. 
Schau has handled the transition well. 
She has 194 digs so far, more than she had her entire sophomore year. Schau is third on the team in digs this year, behind senior outside hitter Daly Santana and sophomore
libero Dalianliz Rosado.
Schau hasn’t been the team’s primary setter this year, but freshman setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson said Schau has helped her adjust to her starting role.
“She’s such a great natural leader,” Seliger-Swenson said. “She’s so selfless. If she’s giving great effort, you want to give great effort, too, because you see how hard she’s working.”
Seliger-Swenson came to the University of Minnesota last spring after graduating high school early and said Schau quickly took her under her wing. 
“When I got here in the spring, she was the reason that I could finish workouts,” Seliger-Swenson said. “She was always right there with me the whole time.” 
Schau has made improvements at her new position, but she said she hopes to develop more versatility in the future. 
“I still want to keep improving on my setting,” Schau said. “But I want to expand my range so I’m not limited to right back and also work on my [serving and receiving.]”