January 31, 2023

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Mackenzie Morris’ volleyball journey yields fixed greatness

Mackenzie Morris, then-sophomore in enterprise administration, dives to bump the ball again to her staff (Archive picture by Kendall Spencer | Collegian Media Group)

In all of Kansas State volleyball historical past, no person has reached 1,000 profession digs quicker than junior defensive specialist Mackenzie Morris. 

“Somebody informed me within the lead-up to the sport that I used to be approaching the milestone,” Morris mentioned. “I had no clue I used to be coming close to that as a result of I don’t actually consider attaining milestones once I’m setting objectives for myself.”

In the end, on Sept. 24 in opposition to in-state rival Kansas, Morris recorded the historic 1,000th profession dig.

“It was a fairly surreal second,” Morris mentioned. “I received to rejoice a bit of bit with my teammates after which with my household, who I used to be grateful to have come to city to look at.”

Morris’ taking part in profession started at age 10 in Dallas, her hometown. She performed on a variety of membership groups and went on to play for Ursuline Academy in highschool the place she was named the 2018 6A District 2 Defensive Participant of the Yr. 

That very same 12 months, she and her membership staff, Excel, made it to the 2018 USAV Junior Nationwide Championship and positioned third within the event. Morris’ stellar play led to her choice within the all-tournament staff.

“It was tremendous enjoyable,” Morris mentioned. “I feel one of the best half for me was assembly ladies at completely different ages and attending to work together with them.”

Following her junior highschool season, Morris added two extra awards to her mantle, being named first staff All-State and first staff All-District. 

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By then, she additionally decided on the place she was going to varsity. After beginning the recruiting course of in her freshman 12 months of highschool, Ok-State contacted Morris in the summertime of 2018 after her sophomore 12 months.

She traveled to Manhattan for a summer season camp the place she met with a number of members of the teaching workers, together with head coach Susie Fritz.

“I actually cherished everybody I met, in addition to the campus,” Morris mentioned. “It simply felt like a match for me, so I dedicated simply previous to my junior year of high school.”

When she arrived at Ok-State within the fall of 2020, many issues had modified because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the season was nonetheless performed, there have been vital adjustments.

“It was a protracted season,” Morris mentioned. “We needed to play lots of doubleheaders which meant we had been away from house for like three to 4 days. It was positively robust on the varsity schedule. It may be such a dedication, and might take so much out of you bodily, mentally and emotionally, however it’s price it.”

Even with the COVID-19 challenges, balancing college, work and a busy sport schedule, Morris nonetheless excelled in her freshman season, taking part in each set and main the staff in digs with 342. 

In her sophomore season, Morris broke her previous season’s file, upping her digs from 342 to 424 and putting her as team-leader for the second straight season. She additionally recorded 20 or extra digs six instances, and had 11 straight video games of double-digit digs between September and October. Morris’ presence helped her to be named Massive 12 Defensive Participant of the Week twice.

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The staff improved in her sophomore 12 months, leaping from 11 wins to fifteen. Additionally they certified for the 2021 NCAA Volleyball Match. 

Whereas they misplaced within the first spherical to a proficient Florida State squad, Morris says the expertise was essential for the staff.

“We realized that we positively need to get again to taking part in in that state of affairs, but additionally be coaching for moments like that each single follow,” Morris mentioned. “We don’t simply need to get to the event. We need to get there and win.”

After school, Morris hopes to enter accounting, as she is majoring in accounting and finance. For now, her focus is on what she loves, which is volleyball and her teammates.

“Simply having the ability to signify the varsity is such an honor,” Morris mentioned. “We’ve such a tremendous help system right here by athletics, in addition to my teammates, and I’m tremendous grateful for that.”