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Faces of the NCAA

Publish date: Oct 10, 2013

Koenecke wants one last win as a team

By Alexandra Assimon

For senior All-American Kayla Koenecke, it’s all about her team. The Division II volleyball standout at powerhouse Concordia-St. Paul routinely attributes the individual success she has had back to her teammates.

“It shows how good of teammates we do have,” explained Koenecke. “It shows how individual success is truly team success.”

When asked about her strong play as a senior and being named most outstanding player for the Colorado Premier Challenge finishing with 50 kills, 49 dugs and 24 assists, Koenecke instead turned the question around to discuss her teammates look. Freshmen Riley Hanson and Emma Lange have stepped up to help fill the void of those who have graduated.

The Golden Bears have already shown why they are so dominant in Division II. The team has defeated the No. 1-ranked team on two different occasions and is currently on top of those rankings.

Concordia-St. Paul was first tested versus then No.1 Tampa in the Colorado Premiere Challenge. The Golden Bears took down the Spartans 3-1 behind Koenecke’s triple-double of 17 kills, 14 digs and 10 assists.

A few weeks later, No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul played host to another No. 1 team, Minnesota-Duluth. The match-up came down to the wire as the two teams traded the first four sets to knot it up at 2-2. The Golden Bears took the fifth set 25-20 to clinch a 3-2 victory over another No. 1 team. The program is now 7-0 against the No. 1 team since the start of its six straight national championships.

“The Minnesota-Duluth match was a real thriller; it was fun to see 1,700 people in the stands,” exclaimed Koenecke. “The match came down to competing as a team. As a team we were able to knock off No. 1.”

Koenecke, who hails from a family of college athletes, has already earned several weekly and tournament awards this season while working on a degree in marketing with a minor in mathematics. She hopes to secure an internship in marketing for the spring semester as she looks towards graduation.

Koenecke’s favorite motto: In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. She has fulfilled that statement by competing for a program that has won six consecutive Division II national championships and looks to make it seven.

Koenecke feels no pressure to continue the streak. But she is driven to follow the examples she’s seen from the last three senior classes, who all went out as champions.

“You think ‘man I want to be like them,’” said Koenecke.

She works for something so much bigger every day in practice. That elusive seventh title pushes Koenecke, drives her to motive teammates and lean on them. All so they can go out with one last win.