Madelynne McKeown’s collegiate volleyball career is on the move.
After spending the last two years in the Arizona desert playing for Yavapai College, McKeown is now one of the newest members of the Quincy University Hawks. Quincy is a small private school in western Illinois and the home of almost 20 NCAA Division II programs, including women’s volleyball.
McKeown, a four-year varsity player for Juneau-Douglas High School, reported to preseason earlier this week with the Hawks, who went 8-21 last season. The Empire reached the 2016 JDHS graduate in Quincy by phone on Thursday in between practices. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Juneau Empire: What’s been your first impressions of the school and team and culture there?
Madelynne McKeown: The culture here is really relaxed but we have a super athletic team and everyone’s just really driven to get better. That’s really exciting to me to have such an energetic team that is always striving to get better. I just have high hopes for this season, I think we’ll do really good.
Empire: What was that path like going from Yavapai and then getting recruited to playing in the NCAAs?
McKeown: It’s actually been a really smooth transition. The only major transition for me is probably the size of the school — obviously because my junior college is much smaller — and the size of the program. My coach at my junior college was very Type A and very strict and the culture here is a lot more relaxed but also focused, like it’s not unproductive by any means. I just feel a lot more relaxed here at this new school but I definitely feel like my old coach prepared me for this. Ability-wise, I’m there, and I don’t feel unprepared by any means.
Empire: How did that junior college experience specifically prepare you to play at this level?
McKeown: I’d say the speed of the game. My conference in Arizona was super competitive and we were always in the running of being one of the top-20 (Division I) jucos in the country, definitely a very competitive program.
Empire: What kind of role do you hope to carve out with the team and how do you hope to make an impact on the season?
McKeown: I hope I can be a good leader by example. And just always have high energy at practice and in games and have a positive attitude so we can always have a good time when we’re playing and we’re never stressed. … I think the most important thing is being a good teammate so that’s my goal is to be a good teammate for my fellow teammates.
Empire: I’ve heard Quincy has a rare men’s volleyball team — do you think the women’s team would be able to beat the men’s?
McKeown: Maybe defense-wise but they’re all giants so it might be a little bit of a battle.
Empire: Was there anything else you’d like to like to add?
McKeown: I’m just really thankful for my coaches in high school that helped prepare me for the college-athlete life: Lesslie Knight, Dale Bontrager, and Pat (Gorman). Really thankful for them. I think about them a lot.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.