BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
Mackenzie Koester’s play isn’t motivated by college exposure, like many area seniors during their final seasons. Already committed to McKendree University to join the Bearcat Volleyball program, Koester can simply focus on improving her game and helping lift the Panthers to a historic 2016 season.
Koester’s season is off to a promising start, albeit a game into the campaign, as she led her team in kills (7) and assists (2) in the Panther’s season opening win over Waterloo this past Thursday.
Mackenzie’s hit percentage after one game sits at 26.3, well above the national average. The senior was the only member of the team to lead the game in multiple statistics, and figures to be a major part of the Panther success in the coming weeks.
She has been part of 3 consecutive Regional Championships for O’Fallon Volleyball, as well as playing a large role in the 2015 team that captured the program’s first Southwestern Conference Title in over a decade and a half.
Koester committed to McKendree back in April and is set to become an instant contributor to Head Coach Nickie Sanlin’s charges. The Bearcats will lose six players to graduation after this season, opening the door for an incoming freshman such as Koester to come in and contribute right away. “I can’t wait to continue my volleyball career at McKendree,” Koester said.
Koester promises to be among the Southwestern Conference’s premier Right Side Hitters, and will provide valuable depth at Setter during rotations. Few area players boast the talent and versatility that number 1 does.
Mackenzie is the daughter of Wade and Deana Koester. Her brother, Brennan, is a 2014 OTHS Grad who currently runs Division 1 Cross Country for the Arkansas State University Red Wolves.
Koester will return to the courts on Thursday against Salem.