WSU’s 2 seniors prepare for their final game at Koch Arena


Morgan Anderson

Wichita State senior Kara Brown returns a serve during the game against the University of Memphis on Sunday.

This Friday, Wichita State volleyball will honor its two seniors as part of senior night festivities prior to the contest against Tulsa.

Before WSU’s last game of the season in Charles Koch Arena, The Sunflower caught up with seniors Damadj Johnnson and Kara Bown.

Damadj Johnson, middle hitter

Johnson, a transfer from Indiana State, has adjusted nicely to WSU in her first and only season as a Shocker.

In three seasons as a Sycamore, Johnson was featured on the all-freshman team along with finishing tied for third in program history with 98 block assists in a season.

Following an early ankle injury, Johnson has played in 15 matches for WSU while tallying 70 kills and 30 blocks.

Entering her last home game, Johnson said she expects senior night to be a positive, enjoyable experience.

“I don’t think I will have any sad emotions, but I’ll be really happy, really excited, because it’s my last home game playing with these girls,” Johnson said. “I know I had a short time with these girls, but I’m really happy to see what they look like in the fall. It’s just going to be a happy feeling just to see how they grow after the season.”

Johnson said her favorite memory as a Shocker was traveling to New York during a recent road trip when the team really bonded.

“For my whole four years of college volleyball, I was really more close with these girls as friends than anything,” she said. “I will miss playing with them and wish I had more experience and time to play with them.”

Overall, Johnson said she’s incredibly happy that she transferred to WSU.

“I’m very happy. It was a short time, but I just think God put me here for a reason,” Johnson said. “I feel like I was a good leader to these girls. I feel like they learned from me and I also learned from them. I was really happy with this choice.”

Selena Favela
Wichita State’s Damadj Johnson spikes the ball against Central Florida during their game at Koch Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.

Kara Bown, libero/ defensive specialist

Bown, a four-year member of the program, has taken on a greater role with this year’s Shocker team as former AAC libero of the year Giorgia Civita went down before the season with a torn ACL.

This season, Bown has played in 90 sets for the Shockers, leading the team in both digs and assists with 319 and 45, respectively. In her career, Bown has collected a total of 495 digs.

As she prepares for her final home game, Bown said she hopes to finish the year off on a high.

“I just want to finish on a strong note here,” Bown said. “It’s an awesome four years and I just want to have the best memory this season. I know it can be hard when our season is not going super well, but just pushing through the last game and having fun and still cherishing every point we have left together.”

Bown said her favorite memory on the court was returning to her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, for a game this year.

“I’m from Lincoln, so it was pretty special to have all my family there,” she said. “Off the court, just being with all these girls, cherishing those bonds I’ve made with them through all these years is going to be tough.”

Bown said she’ll cherish the memories she has of playing inside Charles Koch Arena.

“I will miss the atmosphere of Koch because we have amazing fans, and that’s not something you get everywhere,” Bown said. “Just playing this level of volleyball won’t happen again, so just cherishing every last minute I have with these girls and playing this sport in front of the fans.”

In her senior season, Bown has been thrust into a leadership role with three newcomers joining the team this year in Arianna Arjomand, Lily Liekweg, and Shea Lauria. Bown has helped them throughout the season as they adjust to collegiate volleyball.

“It’s been interesting to be the one in charge of them and teaching them along the way and pushing them, getting them to understand what we’re trying to do defensively, because there’s a lot going on,” Bown said. “They’ve done a great job, but just pushing them through that learning curve and encouraging that to happen faster, and they’ve responded really well to that.”