Koenen shooting towards her netball goals

1538841_697001040339328_4375385331379911262_nThe commitment shown by up-and-coming shooter Cara Koenen towards her netball career is quite extraordinary.

She’s clocked up tens of thousands of kilometres of travel over the past few months chasing her netball dream.

The goal shooter lived on Magnetic Island, in far north Queensland, and travelled from there by boat to Townsville every day to train with her state league side.

She then jumped on a plane to Brisbane every weekend to train with the Queensland 19/U state team – all of this while completing her Year 12.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Brian Munro, Sport-in-digital

But all those sacrifices have certainly paid off for the 18-year-old Koenen, who was one of the stars for Queensland at the recent 19/U National Netball Championships played in Melbourne.

Koenen was the leading goalscorer for the week, with 264 at an average of 29.3 goals a match and 90 per cent accuracy, earning her the award as the Most Valuable Player for the tournament and selection in the national squad for her age group.

Not surprisingly, her efforts helped Queensland win the 19/U national title for the first time since 2010, beating Victoria in the Final.

“It has been a long road but all the travelling and training has definitely paid off,” Koenen said.

“It was a massive week and was the best week of my life. I did not expect to win MVP, especially being bottom age, but the girls made me look good. _MCA9726Li

“We went into the week to do the best we could as a team as we had pretty high expectation of ourselves, so we were really focused on winning so MVP is a bonus.”

Koenen has moved to Brisbane this year to study a Bachelor of Nutrition and Exercise Science at The University of Queensland.

“The move has helped my netball and I wouldn’t have been able to keep with all the travel and training if I had stayed up north, so it was the best things for me as a player,” she said.

Koenen’s next focus is on trying out for a place in the Queensland Fusion squad ahead of this year’s Australian Netball League with her long-term dreams include playing in the ANZ Championship and – ultimately – for Australia.

“I love the game and of course I have always wanted to play for the Firebirds,” Koenen said.