Junior Jenna Spadafora practices her setting during the team’s practice on Aug. 25. The setter is starting for the first time in her career this season, and looking forward to embracing her new role. DN PHOTO JORDAN HUFFER
WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: Jenna Spadafora embraces leadership role
After waiting two years Jenna Spadafora is looking for her chance. This year, she will get it.
A junior on the Ball State women’s volleyball team, Spadafora has played behind former Cardinal setter Jacqui Seidel for the last two seasons.
Despite not starting, Spadafora has been difficult to keep off the floor.
Spadafora's 2013 statistics
Kills per set: 0.91
Assists per set: 3.52
She contributed as an outside hitter in 2012 and 2013 due to injuries on the Cardinals roster, and she has also played sparingly at her natural setter position.
When the upcoming season begins, Spadafora said she is ready to play a larger role.
“I think a little bit of my mentality has changed, knowing that I’m the upperclassman on the team,” Spadafora said. “They really need me to be able to step up.”
Although Spadafora has yet to be a full-time player during her collegiate career, she has been able to play a big role on successful teams.
In addition to being named to the Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team for the 2013-14 season, she has totaled 428 career assists, including an average of 2.58 per set. She also has registered 234 kills, with a .185 attack percentage.
While Seidel started the past two seasons, head coach Steve Shondell said it was nice to have two setters that could play the position well.
“This year we came in knowing for sure who our setter was going to be,” Shondell said. “Where in the past years we’ve had two girls that you could change on a given night and you wouldn’t be hurt one bit.”
Spadafora is ready to embrace her new leadership role for the Cardinals. She credits Seidel for helping her get to where she is today as a leader.
“[Jacqui Seidel] is such a hard worker,” Spadafora said. “Her defense is incredible, and it always made me step up on the other side of the net and match what she was doing.”
Spadafora said her physical preparation has stayed the same this offseason, despite knowing she will be asked to produce more.
Either way, there won’t be much difference in what Shondell will expect from his starting setter.
“We expect great leadership for [Jenna], and she knows she’s in full control of our offense,” he said. “She’s going to be a great team leader on the court, and she’ll be the player responsible for keeping our team together during the good times and not so good times.”
Spadafora knows her job as a setter is to get her teammates involved as much as possible, and she thinks that is a part of what will make her a good leader.
“I know I’m the quarterback of this team,” Spadafora said. “Steve [Shondell] really trusts me to be able to hold everyone accountable.”