In her senior year at Manhattan College, Malia McGuinness has certainly made her mark on the women’s volleyball program.
During the team’s match at Ryder on Oct. 4, McGuinness recorded her 1,000th career dig, securing her spot as only the fifth Jasper to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. She had previously recorded her 1,000th career kill during the match at Fairfield on Sept. 21.
With this milestone accomplished, McGuinness has entered the elite 1,000 kill-1,000 dig club, joining fours others: Paige Carson (1993-1996), Kim Frederick (1998-2001), Amy O’Dorisio (1999-2002) and Diane Strutner (2007-2010).
But her achievements do not stop there. Just this past week, McGuinness was named both the MAAC Player of the Week, as well as the Corvias ECAC Co-Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Chidima Osuchukwu from George Washington University.
As a freshman in 2011, McGuinness was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team, as well as the Second Team All-MAAC.
“She’s a six rotation player, so she does it all,” Mark Jones, the volleyball head coach, said. “She already has 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, and for any player in volleyball that is an incredible accomplishment, but I think she has a lot of goals to finish individually in the season, and I know she wants her team to be successful.”
The Hawaii native was born in Newport Beach, Calif., but has called Kailua, Hawaii her home since age 1 when her family moved there. Everyone plays volleyball in Hawaii, including her brothers, so the move is part of the reason why McGuinness got to where she is today.
“It was the first sport I was actually really good at, and soccer was too much running for me,” McGuinness said.
The marketing major started playing competitive volleyball her freshman year of high school, and has been successful ever since.
“I think everyone looks to Malia on the court as a go-to player,” Sarah Haselhorst, a senior defensive specialist and McGuinness’ roommate, said. “We really need her a lot, and I think especially this year she’s really stepped up and everyone can count on her. I love having her as a teammate.”
For McGuinness, her success has been a work in progress, as she has consistently improved throughout her four years at MC.
“She has matured so much as a person and as a player since she has been here,” Jones said about McGuinness, who he has coached for the last four years. “She wants to get better, so that is always a good thing for us and I think her productivity has skyrocketed from last year. “
Now as a senior, McGuinness has stepped up as a leader on the court, guiding not just her younger teammates, but also the entire team as a whole.
“She is definitely a leader on the team,” Jones said. “We need her to show up, we need her to get the points for us. We are expecting that, and I know she expects that from herself as well.”
“When you’re playing so much, six rotations, you kind of have to be [a leader],” Haselhorst said in regards to McGuinness. “I think she does a good job with it.”
Within the last two weeks, McGuinness has received significant attention for her performances on the court during that stretch of time, as she has showcased complete dominance in each match.
“She has been unbelievable,” Jones said. “We want that consistency to show up on every single week for her, and she is more than capable of doing that. She just has to stay healthy and work hard.”
While McGuinness has recently stood out with her substantial achievements, for her, it is all about helping her team dominate the MAAC conference.
“I like my team a lot. I like all of the girls I play with,” McGuinness said. “I also like the conference, how it’s like you never know what’s going to happen. There’s never a dominant team. It’s always as if anyone can take it. Especially this season – no one knows who’s going to win.”
McGuinness even attributes her success in the past few weeks to her teammates, as it was a team effort for her.
“This weekend was really good,” she said. “Everyone played so well, so it just helped out a lot.”
It is this sense of teamwork, leadership and work ethic that the volleyball program will miss the most once McGuinness graduates in May, as well as her pure talent on the court.
“I think at the end of the year we are going to have a much better team just because of her work ethic and what she has brought to our program,” Jones said. “We definitely don’t want her to graduate. She’s been a big part of our program and we’re very thankful that she is here.”