Provo • It’s been a transition year for Kenzie Koerber.
The graduate opposite hitter for the BYU women’s volleyball team transferred there over the summer after playing for years at the University of Utah. She was one the leaders on a Utes team that advanced to the Sweet 16 twice during her tenure.
But she left Salt Lake City and went south to Provo because she converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and wanted to be in an environment with more like-minded people. Upon her arrival, she was expected to essentially be the leader of the 2021 Cougars, who start their NCAA Tournament run Saturday against Boise State in the Smith Fieldhouse.
In her short time as a Cougar, she’s already help lift a team that played in the Sweet 16 in April.
“She is very competitive and has a strong arm, and she knows the game of volleyball,” junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting said of Koerber. “She’s played at a high level for a long time. So just having that in our gym each day to play against is really important for us getting better and it helps all the girls get better.”
Koerber said playing at BYU has allowed her to have her best season as a volleyball player both statistically and personally. Her hitting percentage and kills per set numbers have gone up, and she’s been tickled by moments where fans will stop her in the grocery store and excitedly ask, “Are you No. 4?”
“It’s kind of cool that down here, it’s a little bit more of a tight-knit community where everybody knows volleyball, everyone knows BYU sports,” Koerber said.
Cougars coach Heather Olmstead described Koerber as a competitor and a “great human being.” Gneiting said she is an authentic person and has done a good job connecting with every one of her teammates throughout the season.
And when it comes to being on the court, Olmstead described just how much value Koerber has brought to BYU.
“I think being able to count on Kenzie to get a pass when we need it and leaning on her for a kill in a crucial moment, I think gives other people confidence,” Olmstead said. “We can still go to other people in moments of need, but we know she wants the ball and she loves those moments where the game is on the line.”
It appears clear that although it will end up being a short one, Koerber’s transition year has been successful.
“It’s been awesome and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and I’m very happy that I made the decision to come down here,” she said.
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