Breaking records is nothing new to Michigan senior Katrina Lehman, who set three school marks last season. But this season, Lehman has the opportunity to rewrite the books completely. Lehman’s run at the records continues tonight, when the Michigan volleyball team (3-1) squares off against Bowling Green (2-2).

Paul Wong
Senior middle blocker Katrina Lehman (right) will try to break the Michigan block assist record tonight against Bowling Green.

Just four matches into the season, Lehman is three block assists shy of tying the school mark of 305, set by Lindsey Ebert in 1997.

After breaking the school records for block assists in conference and nonconference play as well as total blocks in conference play last season, Lehman is averaging more than a block per game this season.

“I’m really excited and I want to break the record,” Lehman said. “It is one of my goals and I’m going to do it hopefully.”

While Lehman has the chance to etch her name into Michigan history this season, one aspect that will not show up in the books may be the most impressive of all, her size.

Standing a mere 5-foot-10 in a sport where most starters are more than six feet tall, the relatively diminutive Lehman is still a presence at the net.

“I am the smallest middle hitter in the Big Ten, the shortest for the last three years,” Lehman says with pride. “I’m the only one under six feet, but that just gives me motivation.”

According to Lehman, the secret to her success at the net has little to do with her height or her leg strength. She relies on another muscle.

“I’ve got a lot of heart and I work really hard and I don’t even have the biggest ups,” Lehman said.

Even with the odds stacked against her, Lehman has proven to be one of the most prolific blockers in the last few years – finishing sixth overall in the Big Ten in blocks last season.

Not only could Lehman set a new block assist record this year, but she is also on pace to break the total block record at Michigan. She is just 39 blocks away from owning that mark as well. Michigan’s total block record has stood for more than a decade, since Julia Sturm patrolled the nets in 1990.

Despite all the adversity, Lehman is determined to put her name at the top of the list.

“I guess when everything’s against you, you just have to dig deep and go as hard as you can,” Lehman said.

Going as hard as she can is Lehman’s motto for the year. The lone senior on the team, Lehman enters her last season with the Wolverines with a sense of urgency and an attitude to relish every moment.

“Every game I’m coming out here playing as hard as I can, thinking it is the last game,” Lehman said. “I go hard and this is my last year. I have to give it all I’ve got.”

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