Linfield Wildcats

Carolyn (Pearce) Kraus

Athlete 1978 - 1981

Carolyn (Pearce) Kraus Carolyn (Pearce) Kraus, class of 1982, is the first volleyball player to be selected to the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.

As Carolyn Pearce, she was Linfield's first volleyball All-American and its first four-time all-conference player.

She was the setter on the most successful team in Wildcat history, which finished second in the 16-team Division III national tournament of the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) in 1981.

In that magical season, Pearce won these honors:

• Linfield team captain (for the third year in a row);

• Linfield Most Valuable Player award (for the third year in a row, in her freshman season she was named Wildcat Rookie of the Year);

• WCIC All-Conference team (fourth time);

• Northwest Collegiate all-star team (fourth time);

• NCWSA Region 9 Tournament Most Valuable Player;

• NCWSA Region 9 All-Tournament team;

• AIAW Division III National All-Tournament team;

• AIAW All-American.

In Pearce's four years, Linfield volleyball teams won 123 matches and lost 32. The Wildcats had three consecutive 30-win seasons, including 36-12 in 1981.

Pearce set Linfield into the national tournament twice, setting a standard for volleyball setters at Linfield to aspire to for decades to come.

"Having Carolyn on the floor was like having a coach on the court," said Shane Kimura, Linfield's head coach then and now. "She was everyone's leader."

"With Carolyn, we were able to change our offense from two setters and four hitters to one setter and five hitters . . . She made the big plays when we had to have them."

Kimura did not think the big colleges in the Northwest would pass on a player of Pearce's ability, already proven at Estacada High in Oregon. He was surprised and delighted when she showed up at Linfield.

Bend was her hometown during her college years and she currently resides in West Linn with her sons Bryant, 19, and Kyle, 16, who are both students. She is an IT specialist and customer services representative for Northwest Newborn Specialists at Emanuel Hospital in Portland.