Former Estacada volleyball player Jourdan Wenzinger ranked No. 1 in digs in college league

by: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: LOREN NIBBE - Jourdan Wenzinger, now a sophomore at Chemeketa Community College, is hoping for an opportunity to play at a four-year college next season.When Jourdan Wenzinger graduated in 2011, anyone who had seen her play volleyball knew her future would be bright. Whether they knew it would be this bright, however, is up for debate.

After graduation, Wenzinger received a scholarship to attend Chemeketa Community College in Salem.

“I tried out at a couple schools including Clackamas, Mt. Hood and Chemeketa,” she said. “I got offers from Clackamas and Chemeketa, but Chemeketa offered to pay for all three terms.”

After finishing second-team all-state as a senior, Wenzinger started immediately as a freshman and finished the year ranked among the top five players for digs.

A dig is any hit that comes off an offensive attack.

Hoping her sophomore year would bring more of the same success, Wenzinger did everything she could to improve throughout the summer. It turns out that hard work paid off.

Midway through the 2012 season, Wenzinger is ranked No. 1 in digs, averaging an astonishing 8.25 per game. Even better, her team is reaping the benefits.

“Freshman year we tied for fourth in league but didn’t go to NWAACC (Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges) playoffs,” she said. “This year we’re fourth again, but so far it looks like we’ll go to NWAACC.”

For Wenzinger, the transformation into a remarkable volleyball player is impressive, to say the least.

When she moved to Estacada in sixth grade, Wenzinger didn’t have much in the way of athletic experience and couldn’t have imagined where she would be nearly 10 years later.

“I started playing in seventh grade and I fell in love,” she said. “My coaches from junior high made me love the sport, and now I can’t imagine not playing.”

One speed bump along the way was the transition from offense to defense — a move that has paid dividends.

“I realized freshman year that I would be a defensive player,” she said. “I had hit a little bit in junior high and club, but as soon as I entered freshman year, I knew I would be on defense. It was discouraging at first because I really liked playing offense.

“When I got to my sophomore year, though, I accepted it and realized I was pretty good at it.”

Despite being just 5 feet tall, Wenzinger was more than pretty good defensively — she was a standout.

“The key is being quick and having a lot of leg strength,” she said. “You need to realize that you won’t get a lot of glory and you won’t get noticed. You just don’t score a lot of points.”

Well, it turns out that the right people have been noticing her, and it might lead to more volleyball down the road.

Because Wenzinger is a sophomore at a community college, she’s looking for the next opportunity to continue her career at a four-year college. Among the schools she thinks she could play at are George Fox, Concordia, Southern Oregon and possibly even Seattle Pacific.

“I am definitely trying to play at a four-year school,” she said. “Right now, though, it’s up in the air. I’m just trying to work hard and get my name out there as much as possible.”

At the moment, Wenzinger doesn’t have any offers to play, but if her high level of play keeps up, it’s hard to imagine she’ll be without an offer for long.

“If you love the sport, you have to go after it and never give up,” she said. “I always want to keep playing volleyball.”

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