By Rob Kiser
Piqua volleyball has a new “Queen” of digs.
And it was the last title PHS senior Kelsey Magoteaux would ever apply to her when she entered the halls of Piqua High School as a freshman.
“Actually, I was a hitter all the way through junior high,” Magoteux said. “I came into the high school program as a hitter.”
Current Piqua volleyball coach Liana Michael was an assistant to Kaila Cook at the time and she saw something special in the 5-5 Magoteaux.
“Coach (Cook) and I went back and forth on it,” Michael said. “Kelsey (Magoteaux) was a six-rotation player. I felt like if we could have here in the back row for six rotations, that was really going to help the team. She was hitter on her JO teams for a couple years after that. And her ability to attack (hit the ball) from the back row just added to that (her defensive abilities.”
Magoteaux took to the new role as libero like a fish takes to water.
She immediately broke Kailey Byers single season dig record as a sophomore with 328 and just kept on going.
Magoteaux followed it up with 367 digs as a junior and capped her career with 505 digs this year — breaking Taylor Bachman’s school record for career digs and finishing with 1,200.
“Once I moved there (to libero), I just really enjoyed it,” Magoteaux said. “I just really enjoy the challenge.”
Over the past three seasons, Piqua has had records of 12-10, 15-8 and 13-10 and Magoteaux is a big part of that.
Her serve receive percentage over the last three seasons has been .945, .987 and .994 respectively.
She also had 52 aces, 30 kills and 82 assists.
“Our best offense is our defense,” Michael said with a laugh. “We don’t grow six-footers at Piqua, so we have to be good at defense. To have someone back there who is going to make a good pass 99 percent of the time — and that is what her percentage is — that is huge.”
Magoteaux said her success has not come easy.
“It is a lot of work,” she said. “You have to read your hitters and their blockers to know where the ball is going,” Magoteaux said. “You have to understand where you want to pass the ball to. But, I really enjoy that challenge.”
Magoteaux had an even bigger challenge thrown in front of her for her senior season — and didn’t bat an eye.
“I injured my knee during basketball pre-season last year,” Magoteaux said. “I didn’t have it examined until after the season and the doctor told me I had a torn ACL. I asked him at the time if it was something I could play with, because I didn’t want to miss my senior year.”
It didn’t even slow her down and she plans to play basketball with it this winter.
“It took some work, but it didn’t really surprise me (her success playing with the injury),” Magoteaux said. “It took some getting used to.”
Magoteaux has gone from fifth as sophomore, third as a junior to the GWOC digs leader this year. Centerville’s MacKenzie Conner, the GWOC digs leader last year, was a distant second with 403.
Recently, Magoteaux got an even bigger honor when she was named GWOC North co-Player of the Year.
“I was shocked and thrilled,” Magoteaux said. “I just saw it as our team’s hard work finally paying off and being recognized. It is a great honor.”
Magoteaux wasn’t the only one honored.
Michael was named GWOC North co-Coach of the Year and District 9 Coach of the Year.
“The Troy coach has swept those awards for at least the last four or five years,” Michael said. “And it was probably unanimous. So, I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”
Magoteaux has made the decision not to play in college.
“I am sure I will (miss it),” she said. “It was a big part of my life.”
But, she definitely left her mark, leaving as the reining “Queen”.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.