From Indiana to California, Emily Jones made the half country trip in search of a fresh start.
What she ended up finding was a volleyball team that welcomed her and showed her what it felt like to consistently win.
“I felt it was time for a fresh start,” said Jones. “I knew my family was going to move out here so I wanted to get a head start.”
Before coming to the West Coast, Jones attended Eastern Indiana University where she played a year of volleyball.
“After playing my first year in college it was rough. The year didn’t go so well.” said Jones “I quit playing after my freshman year in college. I moved after the first semester [of sophomore year] and started playing again this fall.”
During her maiden year playing at LMC, she helped her team win the Bay Valley Conference, secure a spot in the playoffs, and showed how valuable of an asset she is on the court.
“She came in and said, ‘Hey I play volleyball can I play for your team?’” said head coach Lou Panzella.
Coming over to California in the first place was not a walk in the park, that in itself was a big challenge for Jones. One of the biggest obstacles that presented itself was trying to adjust to the new move according to the libero.
“I was in a new place and I only knew a few people. I had to go out of my comfort zone and reach out to different people to try to get involved and form friendships. It was difficult” said Jones.
Although hard at first, overall the transition was smooth according to Jones.
She took a semester long break from school, having a lot of free time on her hands.
“It was hard at times but it was helpful to have time to figure it out.” said the libero.
With the help of her teammates, Jones was starting to settle in. Although she was unsure of what to expect when she first started, now they’ve bonded closer as shown with their chemistry on the court.
All the effort to adjust to the West Coast payed off as her team won the BVC title and finished 10th in conference for digs with 156.
“We have all worked so hard. As soon as our team formed, we were able to see so much potential because of how hard we work and how passionate we are.” said Jones “I don’t believe it was a surprise that we have come this far.”
Panzella was also pleased with her performances this season.
“She’s extremely consistent in her play, in her approach to plays, I find her to be consistent about everything.” said the head coach “She’s our best passer and she’s always trying to get better. What more could you ask her to do?”
One of the biggest motivators for her is her dad. According to the LMC athlete, he’s been encouraging of her and is the source behind her hard work.
“I’ve always tried to reflect what he has taught me and playing hard is how I feel like I can do that.” said Jones.
Outside the court, she is majoring in Biology although she is not exactly sure which specific area she is going to go to as many of the different areas interest her. Further down she wants to focus on only one area and fully commit herself to it.
Though moving states was a difficult patch, now the California sun is shining on Jones.