ROXANA — Roxana High head coach Mike McKinney raves about Kara Meyer's work ethic on the volleyball court.
That tireless effort and dedication recently landed the senior spiker for the Shells the highlight of her volleyball career — a scholarship to Robert Morris University in Springfield.
The NAIA school will be a good fit for the versatile Meyer, who could see time as an outside hitter and libero for the Eagles. She's fired up to get her career started there.
“This is super exciting because Robert Morris is a university so not only do I get to play two years, I get to play four more years of volleyball,” Meyer said.
Meyer went for a tryout at Robert Morris and impressed head coach Jon Komnick a lot. Her prowess at the net and on defense fit the bill of what the Eagles need.
“Kara came to us on a visit day and tried out during an open gym and immediately fit in with the team,” Komnick said. “Her skills in our rotation as an outside hitter is a skill set we can use next year. Her ball control, her attacking, her serving are all things that are going to help us be successful in years to come.”
Meyer said she was nervous taking part in the tryout, but she put her best foot forward and it obviously has worked out for her.
“It was definitely really, really nerve racking because they're college girls and I've never really played with college girls, I've only played club volleyball,” Meyer said. “Club is different from high school, but college is definitely a step up and I was super excited.”
Listed at 5-foot-5, Meyer is definitely undersized as a hitter, a position dominated by height in the sport of volleyball. McKinney said her hunger to succeed and diligent work ethic doesn't allow the small stature to be used as an excuse though.
“As a coach you love when kids live and breath volleyball and that's what Kara's done since she's been playing for me since the seventh grade,” McKinney said. “Nothing can make you happier as a coach than seeing someone realize their dream. She's wanted to play college since she was in the seventh grade. She's a great kid, works hard and doesn't let her size limit her ability in the front row. She's a good role model on and off the court, very intense and I think her leadership was one of the reasons why we had as much success this year as we had.”
Meyer led the Shells in kills (157) and digs (228) in 2015. Her development as a defensive specialist during her time at Roxana led her to finish second all time in digs for the program behind Anna Whitaker. McKinney would have never imagined that as a possibility when Meyer started her career with the Shells.
“She's like human floor burn, wouldn't let a ball hit the ground,” McKinney said. “She was very intense, like, 'If there's a ball I can get to I'm going to get to it, if I can't get to it I'm going to give the best effort I can.' Her skills at the front row — because she can jump so well — always overshadow the back row, but this year she also took on the leadership role of also playing great defense. Our match against Carlinville just jumped out. That helped her make second team all-conference because one of the coaches mentioned, 'Her back row play is the reason we're voting for her.' She prides herself on her hustle and determination. She's progressed every year with her defense.
“I didn't see her as second all-time (digs), but I saw the potential for her to be top 10 all-time. During the season she just kept pecking away up the list and I was like, 'That's pretty impressive.' That's because of her hard work she finished second all-time. No disrespect to Anna, who was amazing at it, but if somebody would have said, 'Kara's going to be second,' I'd have said 'Nah, probably not.'”
It's that high energy that will benefit Meyer at the next level. She's willing to work and she's ready to work. She's already got a plan to improve her skill set.
“I'm going to be working on my skills a lot more,” she said. “I'm going to be doing a lot camps.”
She believes what she learned during her time at Roxana will assist her on the collegiate stage, too.
“McKinney definitely gave me a lot of insight and a lot of direction,” Meyer said. “I learned so much in the back row, sticking and holding my path. I learned how to always get back on my attacks.”
Unfortunately her time in Roxana is nearing its end, but it won't be something she will soon forget. She'll miss being a Shell.
“I'm going to miss the student body,” Meyer said. “The student body is really what got the volleyball team where it was. They came to almost all of our games, they were loud. And I'm going to miss these colors. I've known these colors my whole life. I'm just going to miss everything about Roxana.”
Meyer plans to enter the health sciences field at Robert Morris, but doesn't know specifically what she will major in yet.