Local players stay committed to Owens volleyball

J. Patrick Eaken

By J. Patrick Eaken

Press Sports Editor



Owens Community College has made the decision to suspend fall and winter athletic practice and competition. This includes men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball. 

The fall sports decision affects three local volleyball players, 6-0 sophomore middle/right side hitter Taylor Momany, 6-0 freshman setter Karly Bekier, and 5-9 freshman right side hitter Sydney Meinke. Momany and Bekier both played prep volleyball at Lake, Meinke played at Clay.

There is a strong belief by Owens athletics officials that volleyball might be played next spring instead.

A statement from Owens public relations manager Jared Meade read, “It is our hope that Region 12 of the NJCAA will decide to move volleyball to spring semester competition. This decision was made in consideration of the health and welfare of our athletes and with the understanding of the disruption that the COVID-19 situation could have on the team’s recruitment and training schedule. Owens plans to resume athletic competition in the spring if it is safe and appropriate to do so.”

Karly Bekier joins the team one year after her sister Kayla played her final year with the Owens program. Kayla was a starter on Owens teams that won NJCAA Division III national championships the past two years.

Momany and Karly Bekier are hoping the volleyball season is played next spring because both plan to stay at Owens. 

Karly says it was her sister Kayla that influenced her decision to play at Owens. The Bekier family has been close to the program for years, so it made sense.

“We’ve always been family and my whole family has been connected with Owens. I kind of had to follow in her steps a little bit,” Karly said. “I feel so connected to volleyball because both of my sisters played volleyball and watching them I just fell in love with the sport.” 

Karly adds that Owens coach Sonny Lewis played a role, too.

“I’ve been talking to him recently and I’ve loved his coaching and him as a person. I’m so excited to get to play for him,” Karly said.

Because Karly was busy with volleyball and classes at Lake, she didn’t get to travel to see Kayla’s team win the national championship, but she watched it on television.

“It was so fun to watch because I watched it on TV. To see them settle it out, and come out on top, it was amazing,” Karly said.

It had taken Lewis 18 seasons to win his first national championship in 2018. It took just 371 days to win his second last fall.

The Express swept their way to the program’s second consecutive NJCAA Division III championship, defeating conference rival Columbus State for the fifth time in the final.

The Express finished the season with a record of 43-4, marking the fifth straight year where the team has won 40 or more games. They finished three wins shy of the all-time mark of 46 victories in a season set by the 2000 and 2002 team. The 43 wins also marked the third most wins in a season since 1994. 

“I give major props to every single person on this team for overcoming everything we were put through and coming out on top. All of our hard work really paid off in the end. Despite everything that has happened to us, this was the dream team and I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of it,” Kayla told The Press.

Owens had two players named to the NJCAA D-III All Tournament Team, including Kayla, who had 33 kills during the national tournament, including 15 against Brookhaven CC

Momany and the Bekier sisters played for Coach Amy Vorst at Lake. Vorst (Rapelje) is an Eastwood graduate who played for the Eagles’ 1993 Division III state championship team, so she knew the meaning of winning on a big stage. 

“She is a really good coach,” Karly said. “I’ve really enjoyed having her as a coach. She would talk to me and give me good feedback, and just let me know anything good or bad.

“I also wanted to mention my other coach, Stacy Cromer. He always helped me with setting and I wouldn’t be as good as I am now if it weren’t for him. He is an amazing coach and his knowledge for volleyball is mind blowing. He has taught me so much about the sport I love.”

Her senior year at Lake, Karly set a school record with 65 aces in a season. She was also named to the All-Northern Buckeye Conference second team. Bekier was also a member of the basketball team that had a Division III regional tournament run.

Bekier and Meinke are among five freshman signees expected to begin playing volleyball at Owens this year.

At Clay, Meinke was an HM All-Three Rivers Athletic Conference selection for an Eagles team that finished as district runner-up. She also excelled in track, making it the regional meet the last two years for pole vaulting. 

“She’s very positive and hungry for the ball. She’s all in; no matter where you put her, the kid’s going to get the job done. She’s a great fit for Owens,” said Clay coach Carrie Wagoner.

In high school, Momany was an All-NBC selection three times during her career (honorable mention, 2016; second team, 2017; first team, 2018). She was also an all-district selection twice as well (HM, 2016; second team, 2017). Momany was also Lake’s team MVP during her prep career.




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