GENEVA — Geneva’s Jordan Vencill vividly remembers the moments leading up to her first-ever varsity volleyball match.
The Eagles opened their 2016 season at Madison and Vencill was the lone freshman on the team. She has memories of shaking in the locker room before the match, doing anything she could “to get those nerves out.”
In the hour that followed, the then-freshman gathered all the confidence needed to give way to a memorable four years of high school volleyball.
“I was just shaking in that locker room just trying to get those nerves out,” Vencill recently said, looking back to the moments leading up to her varsity debut. “Then, I had an amazing game and I knew right then and there — I was like ‘I know [volleyball] is the love of my life, like I love this game and it’s going to be an amazing four years.’”
Vencill underestimated just how amazing those four years would be. She collected the second-most kills on the team as a sophomore and earned first-team all-county honors as a junior.
She stepped her game up even more as a senior.
“This year Jordan had a confidence about her that showed on the court,” Eagles coach Annah Haeseler said. “There was just no doubt that she was going to dominate. The other team may have scored a point on her, but that only happened once. She adjusted well, she led her team at all times, and did not let herself get down ever. She literally didn't have a ‘bad’ set. Volleyball is a game of momentum and Jordan had that momentum the entire season.”
An elite threat at the net, Vencill accumulated 298 kills during the regular season and broke a school record averaging 4.2 per set, while leading the Eagles to an 18-5 record, a share of the Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division title and a Division II district semifinal appearance.
She also collected 254 receptions, 108 digs and 41 service aces.
For her accomplishments on the court, county coaches selected Vencill as the 2019 Ashtabula County Volleyball Player of the Year.
“It was unexpected,” Vencill said of the honor. “I never thought of it in the beginning of the year. I never thought I could have the potential to be [player of the year] at the end of the year. It was just unexpected and a great feeling to be able to get that call from coach.”
Vencill’s numbers were no empty-calorie stats, as she saved her best for the biggest moments. In an early-season CVC match against Lakeside, she recorded a clutch ace late in a back-and-forth first set to guide her team to a 29-27 victory and eventual 3-0 sweep. She finished the match with 14 kills.
Vencill recorded a team high in kills in Geneva’s season-finale win against Orange and led the Eagles in kills, aces and blocks in their sectional final victory over Girard.
She also had an ability to get the most out of her teammates.
“She is a great friend, a great leader and she really inspires you to, even when you're down, to bring yourself up and be the best person that you can be,” said Hope Stanley, a teammate of Vencill’s on the volleyball and basketball court. “And she can put the ball down, which makes it a lot easier [on the court]. I was a middle and it’s super hard being a middle and being short, so she made it easier for us to get those points that we needed when we needed them. We could always count on her.”
Vencill is now on to basketball. A first-team all-county basketball selection after her junior season, she recorded a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds in Geneva’s season-opener last weekend and has helped push her team out to a 2-0 record.
After graduation, Vencill will continue her volleyball and academic career at Lakeland Community College.
Based on her high school coach’s inside scoop of Vencill behind the scenes, the county player of the year should have no problem fitting in and standing out at Lakeland.
“Jordan is honestly one of the greatest people you will meet in your life,” Haeseler said. “She is kind to everyone, friends with everyone, and the hardest working girl in the gym, in the classroom and in the community. I cannot say enough about her.
“She is a role model like no other and I am so lucky I have got to coach her and just to know her. My daughter and my nieces all look up to her. One of the first questions they ask is, ‘Will Jordan be there?’”
Looking back at her time with the Geneva volleyball program, Vencill credited all of her teammates and coaches, including her middle school and JO coaches, as well as her parents and grandparents for always pushing her to her limit.
“It was just an amazing ride,” she said.