Genna Berg knew the look, the tone of voice, the insinuations of Division I college volleyball coaches following her senior year at Blue Springs South High School, where she was The Examiner’s Player of the Year.
“Look, I’m 5-foot-9, I get it, I wasn’t the player or the height they were looking for, and I did use that as motivation,” said Berg, a junior outside hitter at Washburn University who was just named to the 26th American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division II All-America second team.
“I knew where they were coming from, and I understood, but I did want to show them I could play at a high level and be a successful player. And I found a new home at Washburn.
“I love everything about the school (in Topeka, Kansas) and my team. This is the perfect fit for me and I couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else.”
Berg earned the national honor after starring for the Ichabods this season. She led them to a record of 27-4 (18-2 MIAA) and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, in which they lost in the first round, in three sets, to defending national champion Concordia St. Paul of Minnesota.
“It was a magical season, and I am so honored and thrilled with the postseason awards,” she said. “You don’t think about those things when you’re playing, but it’s fun to get something like that once the season is over.”
She started all 31 matches for the Ichabods and played nearly the entirety of all 107 sets to lead the team in kills (411) and points (484) while also recording the team's second-most digs (355) and service aces (37).
Her 3.84 kills per set was the second-highest in the MIAA and is currently 35th in the nation this season. She also finished second in the league with a 0.35 aces per set average.
She also finished with 16 double-doubles after recording a combined 17 over her past two seasons. She finished in double-figure kills in 25 of the 31 matches and tied a career match-high of 25 kills against then-No. 10 ranked Central Missouri.
Berg's offensive success pushed her to the milestone of 1,000 career kills on Nov. 2 to become the 21st player in Washburn history to do so.
She now has 1,115 which ranks her 19th all-time for Washburn. This marks the second-consecutive season the Ichabods have had an All-American after Allison Maxwell and Shayla Conner earned an honorable mention nod last season.
Berg also becomes the third Washburn player ever to be named to the AVCA All-American second team as Sarah Vicory (2015 and 2016) and Monica Miesner (2005 and 2007) were both honored twice.
“This has been such a successful program and we have just about everyone back next year, which is really exciting,” Berg added.
Berg’s All-American honor comes in a season where she was named the MIAA Co-Player of the Year while also earning a spot on the all-MIAA first team, the AVCA all-Central Region first team, the D2CCA all-Central Region second team and was a three-time MIAA Hitter of the Week.
“I might be home for Christmas,” she said, grinning, “but I’m working hard, getting ready for next year. I can’t wait to do it all over again.”