If Mekana Barnes can break records, help the CSU volleyball team reach the second round of the NCAA tournament and establish herself as the dominant player in the Mountain West Conference as a junior, one can hardly wait to see what is in store for her senior year.
Barnes, a middle blocker, put together one of the best seasons in CSU volleyball history this year, racking up 420 kills, 177 blocks and 545 points. For her accomplishments, the junior was named the Mountain West Player of the year and honored as a third team All-American.
Barnes didn’t expect the honor, she said, even after such a quality season.
“I never thought that far ahead,” she said. “It was a surprise, and it is so cool to feel like I am one of the best. It’s humbling because you can never stop getting better. It’s an honor and a motivator at the same time.”
Volleyball head coach Tom Hilbert said he can see why Barnes was named as an All-American.
“It was a breakout year for her,” he said. “She gained control and consistency. As a result, she racked up the stats and became the player that every team we play plans for.”
With so many accomplishments under her belt already, high expectations are being made for the psychology major’s senior season.
Barnes explained that she tries not to let the high expectations affect her performance.
“I guess I try not to let it pressure me. I want it to do it again so that gives me something to work for.”
Even with all the individual recognition she has received, Barnes continues to focus on the team and how they can improve an already impressive volleyball program.
“You can really never stop getting better,” the six-footer said. “Player by player we are all getting better. Potentially we could go deep in the (NCAA) tournament, but it all depends on how we manage ourselves.”
Sports reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.