Brent Mutis, CapU Sport Information & Compliance Officer
A college career is a lot like a torch relay and having taken on a leadership role from those that came before, Meghan Koven is getting ready to pass it on.
The only five-year Blues athlete graduating from this year’s women’s volleyball team, Koven plays her final home game this Saturday. The experience she gained early on under veteran players at CapU has kept her going to this point.
“I would say my first two years were really influential for me,” says the North Vancouver native and graduate of Argyle Secondary. “I think the fifth-year (players) that were in my first year… Kira Sutcliffe, Sarah Hughes, Kolby Richter, Kelsi Boroevich, Mika Chow. Those guys were really influential.
“I don’t think I would have continued volleyball truthfully if I hadn’t played with them.”
Given her role on the team this season – a go-to option on offence and a lead-by-example mentor for younger teammates – it’s a good thing those veteran players instilled the drive and motivation in Koven to see her own career through.
More than ever, she feels the expectation of her teammates this season to shoulder the offensive burden and she’s thrived on the workload. She, along with second-year setter Kelsey Towers, has played every set this season. She is fourth in the PACWEST conference in total kills, fourth in total attacks, seventh in digs and seventh in points per set.
Being a focal point and having to produce even when the opposing block system is keying on her is a challenge but one she looks forward to taking on each game night.
“I definitely enjoy it,” says Koven. “I wouldn’t say it’s new to me but it’s definitely more apparent this year. It’s a good challenge.”
And it’s the journey that’s prepared her to perform at a high level. All of the bumps in the road, learning from setbacks and managing success – not to mention having played every position except setter – have forged a belief that may not have been there before.
“I’m not as nervous,” says the 5-foot-10 outside hitter. “I have way more confidence in my last two years I would say than I did in my first two years.
“I was really stressed out in my first year so I think I’ve really changed as a person throughout and I think each coach every year kind of helped me, shaped who I was throughout the years.”
That includes the demanding approach taken by former Blues bench boss Cal Wohlford who recruited Koven and coached her for three seasons. Though very direct, he was clear in his expectations and Koven says it was obvious he wanted the best for his players.
That goes for current coach Rob Gowe as well; he just gets the message across in a different way. Gowe took the reins last summer and has made a challenging season into one Koven will be happy to remember as her sendoff.
“Rob’s a great guy,” she says. “He’s so different than the other two coaches that I’ve had and he’s definitely been a really good coach to kind of end on I think.”
And though she’s the only one in her graduating class from the team this year from the handful that started with her in 2015, several of her current teammates have chipped in to make the season memorable.
“I didn’t know what this team would be coming into the season just because of the whole coach change,” says Koven. “I knew the second-year (players) coming back and those guys obviously made the year super special. The whole team honestly is special. We bonded so nicely and it was a huge shock because you never really know coming in.
“Kelsey and Vanesa (Gatto) kind of helped me initially, made it fun and loose, but there’s a lot of the new girls that I also met that I like and have made it really worthwhile.”
It’s those teammates that will be alongside Koven for Saturday’s regular-season finale against Douglas College, a team there’s a good chance they’ll play in the first game of the PACWEST provincials Feb. 20 at Douglas’ home court.
“I’d like to be really focused,” says Koven. “I feel like I’m going to be emotional about it for sure but it’s a good game to play against Douglas because it could go either way. I think there’s going to be a lot of people there (supporting me)… but I think I’ll be able to focus for the most part.”
Best to soak it all in one last time after a five-year career.
“I feel like it’s gone by really, really fast,” says the arts and sciences student. “(At the start) it feels like it’s going to be a really long time but by the time you get, like now, it’s gone and it’s over. It’s definitely gone by way faster than I thought it would, especially this year.”
Yet there’s just enough time to pass the torch as part of a strong finish to an outstanding career.