This week’s team highlight is the USU Eastern’s women’s volleyball team. Catching up with head coach Danielle Jensen, we asked her a few questions about her memorable season:
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE GOALS GOING INTO THE 2019 VOLLEYBALL SEASON?
“This year, our team went into the season with a goal of improving on each milestone that we had reached the year prior. We made the goal to be “all out, all game, all season.” This included being dressed, warmed up and fully ready for our practice to begin allowing us to take advantage of every minute on the court in preparation for our next game.”
WHAT WERE THE GOALS OF THE COACHING STAFF?
“Prior to the season starting, we met as a coaching staff to discuss what our team would need to take the program to the next level. Our goal was to be focused and intentional, taking every opportunity to challenge the athletes and help them achieve their full potential both on and off the court.”
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR HISTORIC SEASON?
“We played 36 games in the season with a record of 27-9, defeating multiple nationally-ranked programs. We ended the season ranked 12th in the nation for the first time in school history. After finishing the season in second place in conference standings, the team represented the university in the SWAC championship game for the first time in school history. Two athletes received national player of the week as well as USU Eastern’s first volleyball All American in Kiara Richardson.”
WHAT DID YOU LEARN AS A COACH?
“As a coach, I always learn so much from my players, the game and about myself. This season one of the things that stands out the most would be recognizing the crucial moments of the season. Being able to approach each practice and game as if that moment is the game changer.”
WHO WILL BE RETURNING TO THE VOLLEYBALL TEAM THIS FALL, 2020?
“Six sophomores will be returning to the program this fall in hopes of taking the program to the national tournament: OPP – Sunny Perry, OH – Alyssa Simmons, L/DS – Avery Best, L/DS – Emma Ricks, MB – Kahea Nihipali, and DS – Kennedy Poulton. Joining them will be eight new freshmen.”
WHAT ARE YOUR OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE VOLLEYBALL SEASON?
“As I reflect on last season and all of the accomplishments of the team, I can’t help but think about the coach/athlete relationships that were built last year. These girls always become a part of our family and we consider them our own while they are here. We had so many successes together on the court, off the court and just life in general. It was truly a fun year of volleyball, one in which I was sad to see the season come to an end. I always feel blessed and grateful to be be a part of of this university, program and these athlete’s lives.”