Versatility and determination have characterized the four-year varsity volleyball career of Mackenzie Koester — this week’s Athlete of the Week.
The senior spiker has played a variety of roles for the Panthers and has excelled in virtually every position where OTHS coach Melissa Massey has placed her.
“She can do it all,” Massey said. “She is the type of athlete that if I asked her to play any position on the court she would do it gladly and willingly and would give the team a boost. She has shown strong leadership for our program both on and off the court.”
Koester’s ability to fill multiple roles for the Panthers was showcased in the recently completed regional tournament. In semi-final action against Collinsville, she blasted seven kills and totaled five digs on the way to the O’Fallon victory. Her performance against the Kahoks was just a precursor of things to come as she spear-headed the Lady Panthers’ three-game victory over Belleville West High School in the regional title game.
Offensively, Koester and her front line teammates relentlessly pounded winners into the heart of the Maroons’ defense. She ended the game with 10 kills and three blocks. When not scoring critical points for O’Fallon, Koester aided the defensive effort with nine digs.
“Mackenzie turned in a stellar performance against Belleville West,” Massey said. “Our entire team contributed in the regional championship victory, but her overall play was the catalyst we needed to turn back a determined Maroon team.”
Koester, the daughter of Deana and Wade, said her mom was a big influence for her to begin competing.
“I play volleyball because I love the sport and the friendships,” Koester said. “I started playing volleyball around the third grade because my mom had played the sport. My coaches, family and teammates have all contributed to my success.”
“Volleyball has taught me how to be responsible in all aspects of my life,” the talented senior added. “It has also taught me things like discipline, teamwork, communication and the benefits of hard work.”