Marquette Volleyball: Koberstein already a leader for Marquette

Junior setter Elizabeth Koberstein (18) has picked up where Chelsea Heier left off last year. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.

She did not take the conventional path to Marquette, but now that she’s here, junior setter Elizabeth Koberstein wants to lead the volleyball program forward.

“I just try to play my best and lead by example and give my hitters every opportunity to score,” Koberstein said. “That’s just my goal in general.”

Koberstein, a graduate of Madison West High School, was the No. 3 recruit in the nation among setters coming out of high school in 2010. Marquette recruited her, but Koberstein elected to play at Kentucky. However, after two seasons barely seeing the court, she needed a change.

“I have a lot of respect for Kentucky and for that program,” Koberstein said. “I wasn’t playing and I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t fully me there. I couldn’t fully let go and be free and play.”

So Koberstein – or, as her teammates call her, “Bisky” – entered the recruitment pool yet again. This time, Marquette had the leg up.

“I was re-recruited as a college player, which was still not a fun process,” Koberstein said. “It was stressful. It was between three schools. At one school I saw myself as a student, at one school I saw myself as an athlete and at Marquette I saw myself as both.”

The key for Koberstein was her familiarity with coach Bond Shymansky, who recruited her both times as she decided where she would play volleyball.

“I felt really comfortable with Bond because he recruited me in high school,” Koberstein said. “He was obviously a really friendly, charismatic guy, and coming on the recruiting trips here, I felt like I was at home. I always feel like he’s on my side.”

Since her arrival at Marquette, that comfort has continued for Koberstein on the court.

She has played every minute of all nine games in 2012 and is averaging 11.58 assists per set, which ranks her No. 19 in the country. She credits her success to her confidence from playing college volleyball before at Kentucky.

“I have a lot more confidence as a junior because I’ve been in the college game. I’ve had bad days, I’ve had worse days, I’ve had hard conditioning days and easy lifting days,” Koberstein said. “I’ve seen it all pretty much, just in a different facility with different people.”

Koberstein also gives a lot of credit to her teammates for her early success.

“To get an assist I have to have a great pass and someone has to get a kill,” Koberstein said. “I always say my stats are a great representation of how the team is doing. If I have a great game, it’s really because the people around me are having a great game.”

The people around her are impressed with how smoothly she has adjusted to a new system. Shymansky loves how Koberstein’s connection with the hitters has progressed.

“You can see the fluidity and the connection is coming along,” Shymansky said. “The same way a quarterback has to throw to a wide receiver, it doesn’t matter if they’re the two best players in the game until they work together (if) they’re not in sync and they don’t have the connection.”

Two of those hitters, senior middle Dani Carlson and freshman outside Erin Lehman, gave glowing reviews of Koberstein’s progress in the offense.

“I think it’s good for where we’re at,” Carlson said. “It’s hard to play with a new setter and for her to be setting to a different hitter that she’s never set to before. We need constant communication as to where I need it and what she wants to do.”

“It’s so much fun” Lehman said. “Bisky is one of those setters where she can be 20 feet off the net in the opposite direction and she’ll still get you the ball where you want it to be. It’s awesome having a setter like that.”

As for Koberstein, she feels her team has limitless potential.

“We don’t have a ceiling,” Koberstein said. “We want to win the Big East regular season, we want to win the Big East Tournament and we want to win the national championship.”