OWOSSO — Co-captain McKenna Sovis has been the primary setter for the Owosso Trojans for three years.
But the 5-foot-8 senior has an added role this fall as middle hitter.
“This is my first year of ever playing middle, so I really want to try and succeed at that position and work on blocking and obviously being a role model to our younger freshman setter,” Sovis said.
Sovis led Owosso in assists (313) and blocks (31) last year and ranked third in digs (137). She said she is taking freshman middle hitter/setter Kendall Ihm under her wing whenever her guidance is needed.
“I’m really trying to teach her the ropes of what it takes to be a varsity setter because the pace from different levels is crazy,” Sovis said. “It’s so much faster at the varsity level than at the freshman and JV.”
Owosso finished 4-2 Saturday at the Durand Invitational, beating Burton Madison Academy, Byron, Morrice and Burton Bentley. The Trojans reached the semifinals before being beaten by Durand for the second time that day. Sovis quarterbacked Owosso’s offense with 56 assists to go with 39 aces.
Owosso coach Stephen Fitzpatrick said Sovis is a valuable leader.
“We talk about leadership,” Fitzpatrick said. “We talk about being a leader not only in the things you say but the things you do once you are out there on the floor. And so far this year, McKenna has done that. She has stepped up — she’s taken charge and she is very athletic.”
Owosso is coming off a disappointing 2-32-5 season but already this fall the team has turned things around with a 6-3-1 start. Sovis is one of three seniors on Owosso’s team. The other two are Harper Newell and Ariana Loomis. Sovis said Fitzpatrick, who coached at Perry for the previous eight seasons, is a motivational coach.
“One of his big things is that you have to want to win instead of trying not to lose,” Sovis said. “And he’s super big on motivational speaking and giving 100 percent effort.”
Sovis said Owosso hopes to be improved in several areas.
“Definitely in the back row — we have a lot of good back row players,” Sovis said. “And we’re starting to get a little more height in the front row with two girls who are six foot (Kendall Ihm and Olivia Mehay).”
Sovis said she is undecided on what college she will be attending next year.
“I’m going into the medical field,” Sovis said. “So I’ll become a physician’s assistant and then possibly a pediatric doctor after that.”
She said one potential landing spot is Cornerstone University.
“It depends on where I go — if I do end up going to Cornerstone I may play volleyball,” Sovis said. “I’ve had so many coaches tell me that I have the potential to go and play at the college level.”
Sovis has also competed in track and field and tennis. Unfortunately a shoulder injury forced her to stop playing tennis last spring and also take a break from her club volleyball team (Arsenal, based out of Flint).
After making the tennis team, Sovis was going to play doubles but then she got hurt.
“I just started tennis and my shoulder blew out,” she said. “I had to drop out of travel volleyball. I do year-around volleyball and it takes up a lot of time.”
Sovis didn’t have surgery on her right shoulder and said she has learned to cope with the pain. She said it could possibly be a rotator cuff problem.
“I haven’t had surgery yet,” Sovis said. “I went to MSU to their sports medicine place and they gave me a cortisone shot. It healed it for like two hours. I felt 100 percent fine and then after that it was horrible … They told me that, after this season, to take it easy or else I might have shoulder problems the rest of my life.”
Sovis was a hurdler and high jumper as a freshman and a sophomore for the Owosso girls track and field team.
She was named Owosso’s Most Improved Runner as a 10th grader — competing in the 100 and 300-meter hurdles, the high jump and 1,600-meter relay among other events.