Defining leadership

Mary Kate Moeder, Sports Writer

Trustworthy, responsible, reliable, fierce and competitive. These are all words used to describe Maya Karl, a senior volleyball player for the Xavier Saints. Karl has been playing volleyball for four years at Xavier and played on varsity her junior year, helping the team claim the class 4A State Championship title. She has also played on a club team for the Adrenaline Volleyball Academy throughout the year to prepare for the high school season. Assistant Head Coach for the varsity volleyball team, Cait Klenk, has seen Karl put in the time and effort since the beginning. “It’s been an honor to be able to coach Maya over the past 4 years,” Klenk said. “When she came in as a freshman, she had not played much but she was eager to learn.” Karl’s willingness to improve allowed her to become one of the most elite middle hitters in the state. “She is currently hitting over .400 (hitting percentage) and puts up a strong block,” Klenk said. “She leads our team in total blocks for the year with 67.” In addition, Karl’s knowledge for the game has developed through her dedication to the sport over the years. “She has spent time learning the game from a strategic standpoint and that comes through when she’s playing,” Klenk said. These are all key reasons why Karl has been invited to this year’s Iowa Girls’ Coaches Association Annual Senior Volleyball Classic. This year’s event will take place on November 13 in Johnston, Iowa. It includes practices, an honors luncheon and two matches featuring 32 of the top high school senior volleyball players in the state. There are roughly 2,000 senior volleyball players in Iowa so Karl being selected speaks volumes about her leadership and character. She has been a leader to many of her teammates, especially junior Brooklyn Miller. “As a junior I look up to her a lot,” Miller said. “I strive to have the same work ethic she does and I know her work ethic influences others as well.” Not only does her skill on the court stand out for Karl but so does the person she is off of the court. “Maya is the type of teammate that never gives up on you,” Miller said. “She is always there to hype you up, she is positive, and she works hard on and off the court.” Klenk agrees, explaining how Karl cares about her teammates and is willing to help them whenever needed. Karl’s contributions have created a lasting legacy that will impact the team for years to come. “Maya has brought a type of work ethic to the Xavier volleyball program that not every team will have,” Klenk said. “She is always focused and on task, pushing herself to be the best player and teammate she can be. This is one of the best examples of leadership for the underclassmen that look up to her.” Many lessons can be learned from the volleyball player and person Karl is. “What we can take away from Maya is that we can do anything if we put our minds to it,” Miller said. Support Maya and the Saints on their journey through postseason.