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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Senior Spotlight: Johnson leaves mark on Texas State volleyball

Kobe Arriaga
Texas State graduate student outside hitter K.J. Johnson (17) awaits the serve against Coastal Carolina, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, at Strahan Arena.

Graduate student outside hitter K.J. Johnson, a transfer from Fairfield University, has had an immediate impact on Texas State volleyball by leading the team with her experience and offensive talents.

Johnson, who began her collegiate volleyball career at Baylor, joins Texas State in her final year of eligibility and was immediately expected to carry the weight of leading a much younger group of girls for a school that always carried lots of expectation to be great.

Johnson was aware of the expectations being lied upon her shoulders as she made the transition to a new team in her final year but felt that this could be an opportunity for her to leave a mark on the future of Texas State volleyball.

“They were telling me beforehand that this team lost such a big senior class, and with me being a fifth-year player I felt that they would’ve appreciated my perspective and my experiences,” Johnson said. “I just knew that I wanted to come here and help in any way that I can, both on and off the court.”

Johnson led Texas State in kills during the 2023 season with 324 while also posting 241 digs and eight blocks.

Head coach Sean Huiet has known about Johnson’s talents long before she became a Bobcat, and always wanted Johnson to be a part of Texas State volleyball even before her sophomore season in college.

“We’ve known about K.J. for a long time because she’s a Texas kid, and she was always on our radar,” Huiet said. “We played them whenever she was at Baylor, but for her fifth year it was sort of perfect for us because we could really use an outside hitter that could help lead a much younger team.”

Huiet said he was always aware of how talented an offensive player Johnson is but was most impressed with her maturity off the court and her ability to lead a new-look Bobcat squad to yet another West Division championship in the Sun Belt Conference.

“I give respect to K.J. with how she leads and how she gets people to trust in her,” Huiet said. “It’s weird to say that someone who’s only been with our program for five months is going to have a really big impact when it’s all said and done but I think that’s just kudos to who she is as a person.”

As the season progressed, freshman middle blocker Ally Adair has had the benefit of learning from Johnson in a limited amount of time.

Adair said her and Johnson immediately became closer after just a handful of conversations and knows Johnson is leaving behind a lot of knowledge that she can gain for herself as anticipates growing into her own role in the future.

“In a couple years I will be in their position as the older and more experienced player, and I want to be able to help the incoming freshman the way that I’ve been helped this year,” Adair said.

As for Johnson, her future is undecided as of now, but her freshman teammates don’t want to see her go so soon, pushing for Johnson to associate herself with Texas State further in a coaching role.

Whether Johnson’s future foresees her as a graduate assistant coach, or as she jokingly mentions, the new water girl on the sidelines, she said it is impossible for her to forget the memories she has made at Texas State in just a short amount of time.

“I’m honestly going to miss every single thing about this journey,” Johnson said. “I love this sport and if I had any more years to play, I would definitely keep on playing because I just can’t get enough of it.”

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