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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Growing into her own

Senior+outside+hitter+Kiara+McGee+led+the+Aggies+with+334+last+season%2C+and+her+21+kills+against+then+no.+16+Florida+State+was+the+most+kills+recorded+in+a+single+game+by+an+Aggie+all+season.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Hanna Hausman

Senior outside hitter Kiara McGee led the Aggies with 334 last season, and her 21 kills against then no. 16 Florida State was the most kills recorded in a single game by an Aggie all season. 

Though today Kiara McGee is an incredible volleyball player who earned honorable mention All-American honors last season, volleyball wasn’t the sport she was the best at growing up.
McGee excelled in volleyball, track and basketball in high school but ultimately had to narrow her primary focus down to one sport due to time conflicts.
“I was honestly best at track, but I had time conflicts between track and club volleyball,” McGee said. “My dad was paying for my club volleyball so he made me choose which sport I wanted to play,”
The youngest of four, McGee came from a family of basketball players — her father played basketball at Oral Roberts and her oldest brother was a four-year letterwinner at Oregon State. McGee, however, never really found a passion for basketball like her Dad and brother and decided to focus on volleyball.
McGee’s decision paid off, as she had an illustrious volleyball career at Taft High School in San Antonio. A four-year starter, McGee led her team to back-to-back playoff appearances after the school’s 10-year playoff drought.
McGee was named to the 2013 San Antonio Express-News All-Area Super Team and was selected to play in the Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) all-star match.
After her volleyball success at the high school level, McGee originally signed her National Letter of Intent with Georgia Tech. However, McGee reopened her recruitment after Georgia Tech got a new head coach and was originally drawn to Texas A&M by her club teammate, senior outside hitter Ashlie Reasor who was already committed to A&M. 
“Me and Ashlie had played on the same club team and it turned out A&M needed an outside hitter so I came here and took a visit. The coaches took me around and I could tell they wanted me really bad, and it seemed like a good fit,” McGee said.
Despite her very successful high school career, when McGee walked into her first day of volleyball practice at A&M in 2014, she was nervous. 
“When Kiara first came in she was very timid and uncertain of what to expect,” head coach Laurie Corbelli said. “She was reluctant to be coached by me, my intensity caught her off guard.”
McGee said she adjusted one practice at a time and slowly began to gain self esteem. 
“My confidence started to grow when I started to care less about what people thought and doing more about what I knew how to do and trusting in myself,” McGee said. 
McGee was the first outside hitter to come off the bench her freshman year. That season she played in 22 matches, averaging 1.49 kills per set. 
However, Corbelli said McGee’s freshman year was a buffering period as McGee and Corbelli were getting used to each other.
“It took about a year for us to really connect on how to coach Kiara,” Corbelli said. “It was hard for me to know how to coach her best, and she knew it.”
The disconnect was a result of culture shock for McGee who was accustomed to being the best at what she did; however, when she started playing for A&M that wasn’t the case. 
“When Kiara came in, she was used to always being the star [on the team] and when she got here she saw that she had a lot to learn, which was probably frustrating for her,” Corbelli said. 
Corbelli seemed to have struck a chord with Kiara after that year, and it paid dividends as she had a breakout sophomore season, starting in 26 matches and averaging 3.26 kills per set. In her sophomore year, McGee also helped lead the Aggies to an SEC Championship and earned the Aggies’ Most Improved Player Award. 
McGee further upped her game during her junior year and was an integral part of the team’s success, playing in all but two sets of the whole season and leading the team in kills and kills per set. 
This year, McGee has continued her dominant play on the court, averaging 2.85 kills per set and a .233 hitting percentage. She has also emerged as a trend setter amongst her teammates, which has been seen by her influence on the underclassmen on the team, including freshman setter Camille Conner. 
“It’s been awesome to have her senior leadership because I know that if I’m ever struggling or something’s not going my way, I can go about to Kiara and she’ll say ‘hey you got this,’” Conner said. 
Off the court McGee said she is much more laid back and has a hidden talent of being able to spout off all of the states in the United States in alphabetical order in under 20 seconds. McGee showcased her talent in a segment on ESPNU this month. 
“We were taught the states in a song, and I’ve just always remembered the song,” McGee said. “I think I learned it in like second grade. We probably sang the song everyday [in class] and it’s just always stuck with me.”
As for her future after she graduates from Texas A&M, McGee said she is not yet sure if she wants to continue pursuing volleyball. 
“I’m still up in the air about pursuing volleyball after college,” McGee said. “I’m not against it at all, so if it happens, it happens.”

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