Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtney Karst: A Pair of Aces
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 14, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Oct. 14, 2011

TUCSON, Ariz. -

Courtney Karst, a 6-1 outside hitter from the Arizona volleyball team, came to Arizona in 2008. She moved away from her family in Centennial, Colorado to fulfill her passion of playing volleyball. She left her parents and her younger sister Bailey, who she had spent countless hours with on and off the volleyball court.

Bailey, a 5-10 freshman setter, plays at Ohio University. The sisters try to stay in contact with each other as much as they can.

“We keep in touch pretty well,” Courtney said. “We text most of the time, but sometimes we Skype, sometimes we Facebook or tweet.”

Growing up, Courtney had a big influence on her younger sister. Bailey didn’t start playing volleyball until she was in eighth grade, and it was Courtney who convinced her to start playing volleyball.

“She was a soccer player up until then,” Courtney said. “She was a really good club soccer player, and then she wanted to play volleyball.”

Bailey cites several reasons for wanting to switch to volleyball.

“Just to go watch her play all the time influenced me to play,” Bailey said. “I watched her games for three or four years and that influenced me a lot to go play volleyball. It’s just good to get inside and play volleyball instead of being outside all the time like you are in soccer.”

The two sisters played on their high school varsity team when Courtney was a senior outside hitter and Bailey was a freshman libero. They led their team to the final four in the state tournament. In her senior year, Courtney took on a leadership role and really tried to push her teammates, especially Bailey.

“We would get in a lot of arguments, because we’re both really competitive.” Courtney said. “I would try to do a little bit too much, because it was my senior year and I really wanted to get a state championship. I was meaner to Bailey than I was to other people because I knew I could be to her. But it was still fun playing with her, and I probably won’t get that chance again.”

The Karst sisters left the volleyball talk on the court. Nowadays, Courtney serves as a motivator and gives Bailey advice based on her own experiences.

“I struggled as a freshman, so I am just giving her advice because she’s going through some tough times,” Courtney said. “She’s starting, she’s doing really well, she likes the coaches, she likes her teammates, and she likes the school.” 

Bailey has led the Bobcats to a 14-6 start on the season and an undefeated conference record after beating Akron and Buffalo this past weekend. Although it is not scheduled to happen this year, Courtney noted that she would enjoy an Arizona-Ohio matchup

“It would be fun, it would probably one of the times where I’m the most competitive because I don’t want to lose to my little sister,” Courtney said. “But it would be cool, the whole family would probably go.”

Bailey would also love to see the two teams meet.

“It would be a lot of fun to play my sister,” Bailey said. “You never want to lose to your siblings. I would definitely be more nervous than any other game though.”

Courtney has the opportunity to spend time with other family members this weekend as the Wildcats travel to Boulder, Colo. to face the Buffaloes.

“I’m so excited,” Courtney said. “My mom and my dad will be there, all my club coaches, all my high school coaches will be there, all my best friends will be there. I also have a lot of friends that go to CSU, so they’re going to make the drive up to the game.”

The Wildcats are coming off their biggest match of the year, an upset of No.2 UCLA at home and Courtney is hoping their hard work and dedication will continue to pay off.

“I’m hoping to sweep, obviously,” Courtney said. “I know that with how well we’ve been practicing the last couple weeks, it’s definitely possible, but then again we never know what kind of team we’re going to get on the other side.”

Arizona’s confidence is up and Courtney knows what it takes to lead her team and be successful.

“If we play the way we played against UCLA, we can beat any team in the country,” Courtney said. “We just have to handle ourselves the way we have been the last couple games, and not change anything.”

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