Katy Keenan could have eventually had plenty of options to choose from in regards to where she would continue her volleyball career when her days at Argyle are over.
As it stood, the Argyle sophomore had only two official offers but much more interest looming on the horizon.
But one day recently, Keenan realized she did not want to play the waiting game anymore and made her college decision by committing to play volleyball at Texas Tech, choosing the Red Raiders over SMU and over interest from Alabama and Ole Miss that could have soon turned into official offers.
“I wasn’t willing to wait those couple of months,” said Keenan, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker. “I wanted to know where I was going by the end of this school year. Being a volleyball player, recruiting happens really early. I’ve been in the process for a year now.”
Keenan has seen offers come and go, as she had an offer pulled by Baylor because of an injury that forced the Bears to go after a setter instead of a middle blocker, and she didn’t want that to happen again.
“It’s just stressful,” Keenan said. “You always have to worry about who’s watching you on the sideline. I wanted to get this out of the way. I had an offer from Tech for a long time, and one night I just realized that’s where I wanted to go. I like country music and the whole ‘Old West’ feel. It just hit me one night. That’s where I wanted to go.
“Now that I’ve committed to Tech, I can’t see myself going anywhere else.”
She will also have a piece of home with her in Lubbock as her older brother, Trey Keenan, is penciled in as the starting right tackle for the Red Raiders’ football team on new head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s post-spring depth chart.
The Argyle sophomore said knowing she will have her brother, who will be a redshirt freshman in the fall, close by if she ever needs a helping hand or just someone who can relate to being a student-athlete was a big selling point.
“It had a ton to do with it,” Katy Keenan said. “The best people that know what you go through are other student-athletes. Having him there on hard days will feel like I’m at home. I’m still five hours away and living away from home, but I’ll have that there, too. I think Tech has a great program to help student-athletes. Watching him translate from high school to college has been night and day.”
As a sophomore for Argyle in 2012, Keenan was a standout middle blocker. She earned District 10-3A Defensive Player of the Year honors along with being named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 3A all-state team. She helped lead Argyle to its first state tournament appearance, as the Lady Eagles fell to Abilene Wylie in a thrilling five-set marathon in the state semifinal.
Argyle head coach Clark Oberle said many players across the country have Keenan’s physical tools, but she stands out because of her off-the-floor approach and constant drive to improve.
“She has the physical abilities, obviously,” Oberle said. “She has the height at that level. A lot of kids are that tall and don’t get to play in the Big 12. She is always hungry and wants to improve every aspect of her game on a daily basis. She’s never satisfied with her level of play. She always wants to get better.”
In 2012, Keenan compiled 393 kills to go with 42 blocks and 72 block-assists and even chipped in 79 digs.
Oberle knows he’s fortunate to have Keenan as a centerpiece to his team for the next two seasons.
“Just seeing her this offseason in spring league, she’s really improved a lot just since November,” Oberle said. “She’s a lot stronger and smarter. She’s seeing the court better. ... She’s greatly improved over last year already, and she still has all summer to go. I’m excited to see what she’ll do over the next two years. If she continues to improve like she has been, she’ll be unstoppable.”
Another spot Oberle has noticed a marked difference in Keenan’s play on the court has been the way she’s taken over a leadership role at a still young age, and Keenan said she’s made a point to do so and help Argyle become a perennial state-tournament contender.
“I always viewed myself as the baby of the team, and it shocked me in the club season when I realized I’m not the baby anymore,” Keenan said. “I’m the captain of my club team, and I’m the one who should be holding people accountable and working hard in the weight room so others can see that’s the standard and what they have to abide by.
“That’s the standard for Argyle volleyball. We’re serious on every point and fighting for every point like it’s the last point. If we have that mentality, we will make it back to the state tournament and to the finals this year.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.