LAFAYETTE — While many athletes use their love of sports to get an education, Teurlings Catholic senior volleyball player Kynnedie Maloz will use her love of academics to play volleyball next year at the University of Pennsylvania. It was her desire to be a nurse that led her to the Quakers’ campus.

“I wanted to be a nurse as long as I can remember,” she said. “That is my main task.”

It is certainly not her only responsibility though as she maintains a 4.0 GPA and also plays for the Rebels’ basketball team. On the volleyball court, she made the varsity as a freshman and cracked the starting lineup last year, helping the Rebels to the Division III state championship.

“I get very little sleep,” she said, when asked how she manages her time.

It was during the summer of 2013, when she attended volleyball camps at Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania, that college coaches took notice of her.

“I wanted to see both of those campuses as they have great nursing programs,” said Maloz, who ultimately would like to become a neonatologist. “I figured I might as well attend the volleyball camps.”

At the Pennsylvania camp, she had a chance to meet with their coach, Kerry Carr.

“She talks to a lot of people,” Maloz said. “I wasn’t expecting much. She said she pretty much had her recruits set. I was not surprised. I still had interest in going to school there.”

It was shortly after she got back to Lafayette, when her junior year of high school started, when all that changed.

“I got an e-mail from her, saying I was their number one libero recruit,” said Maloz. “I was shocked.”

While she may have been, her coach at Teurlings, Terry Hebert, was not.

“She absolutely can play at that level,” said Hebert, who coached previously at Louisiana-Lafayette. “She is an overachiever. Her work ethic is second to none. She is great at reading the hitters and has speed. She is tenacious in not letting the ball hit the floor.”

Hebert also acknowledged the influence she has on the entire program.

“She will not leave drills until she feels she is where she needs to be. She has often runs drills herself during practice. She is an on-court coach. She is such a tremendous student as well. She knows how to balance her time. I can point to her as an example to our players that it is possible to balance sports and athletics. Kynnedie is proof that hard work pays off.”

With a state championship, an all-district selection, and now a spot on Penn’s volleyball team all under her belt, Maloz feels it is now time to set the bar even higher.

“We want to be consistent and win the (state) championship again,” she said. “I also need to prepare for college. I need to get better. I need to prove I can play, and this didn’t happen just by chance.”