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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Volleyball’s McKenna Keowen breaks program kills record

Jamie Taris
Junior outside hitter McKenna Keowen serves the ball during a match against Roger Williams University Oct. 18. Keowen became the volleyball program’s all-time kills leader Sept. 30.

After getting her 727th kill of her college career against Western Connecticut State University Sept. 30, Suffolk University junior McKenna Keowen broke the university’s all-time volleyball kill record.

“It’s exciting, I’ve been looking forward to doing that since I got here as a freshman,” Keowen said.

Keowen got off to a hot start in her freshman year at Suffolk, leading the conference in kills with 342 kills on the season.

“For a freshman to come in and lead the conference in kills, I thought that was exceptional. She’s a great player. When we recruited her we knew this was the kind of player she could be,” said head coach Scott Blanchard.

Although she knew she was getting close to breaking the record, Keowen had no idea that she broke it until her coach told her on the bus going home.

“I knew since the beginning of the season that I was probably gonna hit it this season, so that was exciting. The day I broke it, coach made a comment to me about it and said that it happened, so that’s how I knew,” Keowen said.

The kills record Keowen broke was previously held by one of her coaches, Hannah Fabiano. Coach Blanchard notes how he saw some similarities in their play as time went on.

“They both want the ball when it counts. When it gets down to crunch time they both want to have the ball. That’s the sign of a good hitter,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard also noted how the team being loaded with good hitters has helped take a load off Keowen’s shoulders since her 342-kill freshman season.

“We got a whole bunch of hitters on the team right now who want the ball in crunch time. She hasn’t had to have a 342-kill season because our team now is so balanced that she doesn’t have to carry the whole offense,” Blanchard said.

Junior outside hitter McKenna Keowen hits the ball during a match against Roger Williams University on Oct. 18. (Jamie Taris)

Keowen agreed that the talent around her has helped contribute to this record being broken.

“It’s definitely very cool. I have a bunch of other talented players around me that have helped, so that’s awesome and definitely makes me more confident as a player,” Keowen said.

Even though a record like this is an individual record, both Blanchard and Keowen want to make sure the rest of the team gets credit for helping Keowen reach this point.

“McKenna will tell you, yes she has the kill record, but a lot of it has to do with the team. If they don’t pass the ball and you don’t have good setters, it doesn’t matter how good of a hitter she is. Quite frankly, she’s had two or three of the best setters to ever play at Suffolk. If they’re getting her in good position to put the ball away, then she’s able to do that,” Blanchard said.

Despite how talented she is at getting kills, Blanchard credits Keowen for being able to do whatever the team asks of her during games.

“She’s one of the only all-around players for us. She plays all 6 rotations for us. She passes the ball, she hits the ball, she plays good defense and the most underrated part of her game is that she’s currently leading the conference in aces,” Blanchard said. “People don’t think of her, they look at Morgan [Kelsey], Tatum [Kalt] and Jayla [Martinez], the kids that really get after it with their serve. We’re a very, very good serving team and right now [Keowen] is leading us in serving.”

Keowen now has 766 kills throughout her time playing volleyball for Suffolk, which puts her on pace to do something no other Suffolk athlete has done before: reach the one-thousand-kill mark in volleyball.

“We have a banner in the gymnasium that’s called the Suffolk Volleyball One Thousand Club. So if you have a thousand digs, or a thousand assists, or a thousand kills, then you’re on the banner. There’s nobody on the banner right now with a thousand kills. I believe this young lady is going to be the first one on that banner,” Blanchard said.

Getting to one thousand kills would be an honor for Keowen, but she has her sights set on one more goal here at Suffolk: winning a championship.

“I’d definitely like to hit a thousand kills, that’d definitely be exciting, but as a team, I think making it to the championship game would be really, really super exciting. That’s kind of an all-time goal for everyone,” Keowen said.

Suffolk volleyball currently stands at 14-8. They continue their playoff push against Plymouth State University and Eastern Connecticut State on Oct. 21.

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About the Contributors
Joseph Dimino, Staff Writer | he/him
Joe is a junior journalism major from Revere, Mass. When he has free time, he can be found in Suffolk's VGA room or watching Boston sports. He's particularly a fan of the Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox! When he graduates, he hopes to become a sports journalist covering Boston sports.
Follow Joe on Twitter: @JoeDiminoSU
Jamie Taris, Managing Editor | he/him
Jamie is a senior broadcast journalism major and public relations minor from Pelham, New Hampshire. He has a deep passion for sports, especially hockey and football, and hopes to make his way into the sports media field after graduation. Outside of the Journal, Jamie is very involved with Suffolk's orientation department, and he's a member of Suffolk's Program Council. When he's not obsessing over the latest sports news, you can usually find Jamie hiking or camping in the White Mountains, or exploring the city with his friends. Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieTaris

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