It was three years ago when members of the Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ volleyball team took a trip to Curry College to soak in a few sets as spectators.
One of those on the adventure was then-sophomore Jordyn Keith, who immediately fell in love with the campus. She then went home, did some research, before ultimately applying. After getting in, she soon received an email from new Colonels head coach Bori May, asking her to attend preseason on a tryout basis. After a week of play, she was penned on Curry’s women’s volleyball roster.
As if making the team was not enough excitement for Keith, May tabbed her as a starter ahead of Curry’s season opener against Fisher College on Sept. 1. That was something she never expected.
“Being a freshman starter is a huge accomplishment for me,” Keith said. “I came into the season not knowing if I would even play a single game, and it shocked me when [coach May] told me I would be starting.”
Keith – the only Colonels freshman starter – finished the season with 69 kills, 12 assists, 52 service aces and 181 digs to her credit.
Keith said one of the struggles she faced this fall was a position change, something she was no stranger too. As a senior at Whitman-Hanson, she was shifted from outside hitter and defensive specialist to libero, where she flourished, leading the Patriot League in digs and aces. At Curry, the 5-foot-4 Keith saw action as not only a libero, but as an outside hitter and defensive specialist as well.
“I had to adjust to hitting and blocking which isn’t easy, but I’ve improved since I began hitting on the team,” Keith said.
Another struggle Keith endured is just mustering up enough confidence to go out and compete against some of the wily veterans she goes up against. Her solution: try to smile and think positively, no matter what.
“As the only freshman starter, it is difficult to be new to college volleyball and to transition from being a senior in high school, to a freshman again in college where all the older girls are more comfortable and experienced than I am,” she said. “I think about how I am on that court for a reason, and that everyone has bad games. We win and lose as a team.”
Former Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ volleyball head coach Josh Gray, who coached Keith for three years on varsity, said he’s seen her grow her game immensely.
“I first met Jordyn in my first season coaching at Whitman-Hanson and from day one of tryouts I knew that she was a special player,” Gray said. “There was no doubt in my mind that she was going to make varsity and that she would contribute from the start. She was so committed and devoted to the sport and did whatever she could to get better every day. “
Gray said Keith’s dedication to her craft has played a major role in the player she is today.
“Jordyn is one of those players who gives everything she has to her team and is willing to do whatever it takes to give her team has a chance to win,” Gray said. “Jordyn’s ability to read the ball and react to it before anyone else is one of her greatest assets on the court because it allows her to make plays others can’t.”
As Keith heads into the offseason, she said she is going to keep doing the things that got her to this point.
“One major goal I have is to work hard for next season,” Keith said. “I am going to start going to the gym more often to stay in shape and to work on becoming stronger and faster on the court.”