McKenzie Twins Will Finish Close in Bethany Volleyball History

By Justin Zackal


Bethany’s Dylana McKenzie.

Twin sisters Dakota and Dylana McKenzie have always been really close to each other. As volleyball teammates since the third grade, the former wombmates were roommates during their first two years at Bethany College.

Now, there’s slight separation during their junior years.

Dakota is rooming with teammate Allie Powell in the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house, yeah, but Dylana is living right across the hall. Dylana ranks fourth in Bethany history with 1,192 career kills, yeah, but Dakota is right there with 1,093 and she averages more kills per set.

“I always tell her that’s only because I hurt my shoulder freshman year and she knows that it’s not because she’s so much better than me,” said Dakota, reciting the rebuttal that fuels their sibling rivalry.

Dakota averages 3.02 kills per set in her career, compared to Dylana’s 2.90. If it weren’t for the nine matches Dakota missed because of a partially torn bicep, they’d be within 10 kills of each other. They will enter their senior years in 2016 approaching Lauren Spegal’s easily reachable school record of 1,289 kills from 2004-07.

“We’ve always had a rivalry,” Dylana said. “Even in high school, I broke our aunt’s record and Dakota was really close to being right there with me. It’s definitely a big joke, I’m like ‘Oh, I had more kills this season,’ and Dakota’s like ‘Oh, I had a better hitting percentage.’ We definitely get at each other with that stats stuff.”

The McKenzie twins are more agreeable when making their college choice, although Dakota liked Bethany first and did more of the talking.

Bethany's Dakota McKenzie

Bethany’s Dakota McKenzie

“I’m more outgoing than her, so I’m easier to talk to in some sense,” Dakota said. “The choice was easy; we both agreed that we both liked it here, we both liked the program and we both liked the coaches. I never thought I was going to college and playing volleyball without her.”

“We are a package deal,” Dylana said. “It would’ve been horrible to go somewhere else and play without her. As long as we were playing volleyball together I was going to be happy.”

Both 6-foot-3 outside hitters from Hopewell, Ohio, the McKenzies have built impressive resumes. Dylana was first-team all-PAC each of the last three seasons, while Dakota, a second-team all-PAC pick in 2015, was first team in 2014 and received an honorable mention for the all-region team. The Bison are 87-34 (.719) since their arrival and they were PAC finalists in 2013 and 2015.

Their “rivalry” has made each other better. They reciprocate advice with everything from volleyball technique to the technicalities of college life.

“We are really critical about each other,” Dylana said. “(On the court) it’s really serious. We want to help each other as much as possible.”

“(Off the court) it definitely makes everything a lot easier having somebody there for you the whole time,” Dakota said. “We do almost everything together.”

That will last one more year. In addition to differences in personalities, the twins have different career goals and majors, Dylana in social work/psychology and Dakota in accounting.

“I would say outside of volleyball interest, we are totally opposites,” Dylana said. “But we complement each other very well.”

Dakota and Dylana have played volleyball together for 15 years and no matter what happens in their final year in 2016, or no matter who finishes with the most kills or better hitting percentage, one thing is certain: they’ll be close.