SE: Kersten Kober: All About the Team

October 8, 2015

By Kelly McHugh-Stewart

When K-State volleyball junior Kersten Kober walked into Ahearn Field House for practice on Monday, she was welcomed with high-fives and “Congratulations!” from her teammates and coaches.

The talented libero from Southlake, Texas, did not know it at the time, but the Big 12 had just announced her as its defensive player of the week.

“It was really exciting, I didn’t know until right before practice,” laughed Kober on Monday afternoon shortly after finding out about the weekly award. “(Assistant coach) Jeff Grove told me, it’s just very exciting.”

Kober’s Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week award is the first of her K-State career and came after a stellar performance against TCU last Saturday after recording a career-high 37 digs. 

Her 37 digs against the Horned Frogs are the third-most in a match in program history – just four shy of tying the all-time record – and were the most by a Wildcat in a road match since 1987. 

“She’s tenacious,” said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. “In the TCU match, we didn’t really get what we wanted in the end (K-State lost in five sets), but she was one of the bright spots. I think the effort level for her is extraordinary when it comes to digging balls. She takes great pride in making a great effort.”

Through her hard work and determination, Kober leads the team with a whopping 274 digs so far this season, including an average of 5.80 per set in Big 12 play – the second-highest clip in the conference. 

“I’m excited for her,” said assistant coach Trent Sorensen, who has watched Kober grow on the court since she was young. “She’s well deserving. Nobody works harder. Nobody deserves it more than Kober. She works so hard at what she does and she sacrifices so much, but I think the best part about her is that she has probably already forgot she got it. She’s all about the team.”

Sorensen has known Kober since she was 15 years old. The first-year Wildcat assistant coached Kober during her three years playing for Tejas Volleyball Club in Fort Worth, Texas, and is impressed with how far she has come over the years. 

“She’s always been so good, and I’ve always thought highly of her, but the jump between before college and now is huge. She’s able to see the game at a better speed,” said Sorensen. “Her ability to see things develop before they happen as a libero is huge. She’s grown tremendously that way.”

While her talent on the court has obviously flourished since she was playing club ball with Sorensen, he’s said he’s more impressed with her mindset. 

Kober is all about the team. One of just four upperclassmen on this year’s roster, in the same way she’s been a key player on the court, she’s has also been a key leader off the court.

She’s a lead-by-example type who lets her hard work do the talking and is never completely satisfied.

So, while she was excited about earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors, she was quick to push it aside and set her focus back on her team.  

“I think you can be happy about (earning Big 12 Player of the Week honors) right now, but you have to know the next day when you get in the gym that it’s in the past,” explained Kober. “You have to look forward and work towards the next game, the next practice.”

K-State (9-7, 1-3 Big 12) looks to bounce back from its 3-0 loss at Iowa State last night when it returns home this weekend to take on West Virginia (5-11, 0-3 Big 12) at 2 p.m. on Saturday. This weekend’s match will take place in Bramlage Coliseum and features free admission. 

“I want us to keep getting better as we go,” said Kober about her goals for the remainder of the season, “I want us to string together some success, win some games and make the (NCAA) Tournament.”

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Kansas State’s Breanna Lewis was recognized on Wednesday by the Big 12 women’s basketball coaches, as she was named a 2015-16 Preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection.

The forward from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was one of the most improved players in the Big 12 last season. Lewis led the Wildcats in a number of statistical categories, including: 11.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.5 steals. She set career-highs in every statistical category last season. Lewis became the first player in program history to register the combination of 350 or more points, 200 or more rebounds, 90 or more blocks and 50 or more steals.

To continue reading about Lewis, please click here