The Kennesaw State volleyball team is a tight-knit unit. They have experienced many ups and downs, but one member of the team has been a standout for the past three years.
Senior Anaiah Boyer has been killing it on the volleyball court ever since she arrived at KSU in 2014, but her successes trail back even further into her high school career, where she was voted “Player of the Year” at Lithia Springs High School in her senior season.
Boyer then made the transition from high school to college look easy as she finished second on the team in kills her freshman season. Despite the impressive statistic, head coach Kieth Schunzel knew she could accomplish much more.
“She came in as a wiry, immature kid with unbelievable potential and you could just tell how special she was,” Schunzel said. “I told her she’s gotta grow up and she took that to heart. She started reading different books about how to better herself, started connecting with her teammates better and training harder. She’s become one of the best players in the league.”
Boyer’s talent backs up Schunzel’s words, as she had 376 kills in 2016 — the fourth-most in school history. But Boyer doesn’t take all the credit for her success.
“It’s the support we have here at KSU,” Boyer said. “Not just my teammates and coaches, but academic advisors, strength coaches, it’s just one big family that makes it seem like you aren’t going in alone.”
In addition to the “big family” mentality, Boyer’s twin sister, Amariah, is also on the team. The extra support in her corner makes Boyer’s life much easier on the court.
“She’s my best friend on and off the court,” Boyer said. “She always supports me. Good game, bad game, she is a great constant in a sport that is so mental; she is always someone that I can count on and lean on.”
The players spend so much time together that they are almost sisters. Boyer says the family dynamic of the volleyball team off the court helps to mesh on the court even easier.
“We like to joke that we are each other’s only friends, which obviously isn’t true,” Boyer said. “We just really enjoy each other’s company.”
The Owls are seeking redemption after they took a tough loss at the end of the 2016 season. Up two sets to one in the ASUN semifinals, a finals appearance was just one set away. They ended up losing the next two and were knocked out of the tournament by Florida Gulf Coast.
Despite the difficult way to end the season, Boyer said she has already moved on.
“Whatever motivates us individually is different,” Boyer said. “For me, our season starts in January. No matter what happened last season, we just have to wash that clean and start preparing for next year.”
Coach Schunzel echoed her sentiments, adding that they were ready for bigger and better things. Both Schunzel and Boyer have their eyes set on an ASUN Championship, if not more.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors, just a lot of maturity,” Boyer said. “We’ve been in that situation before so we know what that moment brings, and I think we are ready for it like we haven’t been in past years.”
The Owls have certainly started the season with a hot hand boasting a 6-2 record while only dropping eight sets on the year. With this much success early in the season, anything is possible for Boyer and company.