Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Adjustments Make Folkl Perfect Fit with Stanford New Level, New Position, Same Result

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Adjustments Make Folkl Perfect Fit with Stanford New Level, New Position, Same Result

Article excerpt

It's been just an incredible year."

In December, Kristin Folkl and Stanford edged UCLA for the NCAA women's volleyball national championship in the Final Four in Austin, Texas. Folkl - an All-American and Volleyball magazine's freshman of the year - had 23 kills that Dec. 17 night against UCLA.

Fast forward 3 1/2 months later.

Another Final Four, but a different sport. This time, the arena is the Target Center in Minneapolis and the game is NCAA women's basketball.

And guess who's holding court again?

You guessed it: Folkl.

Stanford (30-2) plays top-ranked Connecticut (33-0) in the second semifinal at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

"I just feel incredibly fortunate," she said this week. "I don't know why it's happened this way.

"Sometimes I just sit back and think about it, and I just feel incredibly grateful. It's been just everything you could have asked for. I can't believe this is happening to me. I feel sometimes like I'm going to wake up and my luck will have run out."

Of course, Folkl has had more than luck in her championship run in high school and college.

At St. Joseph's Academy in St. Louis, the Folkl-led Angels captured four state championships in volleyball and four in basketball. That string of championships - plus Stanford's volleyball championship - prompted her Cardinal teammates to nickname her "9 for 9."

Nine days after that volleyball championship - the day after Christmas - she stepped onto the Cardinal basketball court.

Two days after that, she played in her first game.

Her initial trepidation at "disrupting the team's unity" was erased by supportive teammates. Her self-consciousness at the coaches having to slow down and "teach me everything" soon was forgotten.

"Everyone was really patient," she said. "They were very nice."

Especially Cardinal guard Charmin Smith (Ladue High), who played AAU basketball with Folkl in St. …

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