By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (September 16, 2016) — Jordyn Keamo is arguably the most decorated transfer in the history of the Tarleton State volleyball program.
A two-time junior college All-American and the 2014 setter of the year in her JUCO region, the past Blinn College star has backed up the hype over her first eight matches with the TexAnns.
Keamo is averaging 11.6 assists per set for the TexAnns. Her teammate, Chandler Gow, averaged 11.4 when she set a Tarleton single-season record with 1,432 assists last season.
Keamo looks to continue her record-setting pace when the TexAnns (7-1) begin defense of their Lone Star Conference championship this weekend. They host Texas A&M-Commerce (5-4) at 6 p.m. Friday and Texas Woman’s (3-5) at noon on Saturday.
Keamo is a threat to break the single-match assists record, too, but only if the TexAnns are pressed to five matches often enough to give the junior from Mililani, Hawaii a chance. Tarleton defeated Lubbock Christian in their only five-set marathon thus far, and Keamo amassed 66 assists, the second most in school history.
She’s also helping hitters such as two-time NCAA All-American Hailey Roberts, amass stats, too. Roberts matched her school record with 37 assists in a single match against Lubbock Christian, and that was after earning her ninth LSC player of the week honor.
Flash Sports Editor Brad Keith caught up with Keamo this week, and tbey spoke about everything from conference play to the culture change of leaving Hawaii for Brenham and Blinn College two years ago:
Keith: First of all, how has it been settling into the Tarleton campus and getting a new season and a new semester started?
Keamo: It’s been great. I’ve just been working to keep up with all my classes, and it’s only been three weeks, but that’s going good. The people here are real welcoming.
Keith: What are the biggest differences in growing up in Hawaii and now living in Texas?Keamo: The beaches, of course, we have great beaches, and everyone here tells me not to go to the beach because they aren’t like what I’m used too. That and the food that I eat here is so much different than back home.
Keith: What are the biggest differences on the court?
Keamo: The height I guess? The players are usually a lot taller here than in Hawaii, and it’s more competitive. But really, it’s the same ball and net and it’s the same sport.
Keith: What goes through your head as your setting the ball throughout a match?
Keamo: I just try to spread the ball evenly, or at least smartly, if that makes sense. Otherwise, everyone knows I’m going to Hailey, because she’s awesome. But I can’t just let them keep setting the block in front of Hailey every time, so I have to distribute the ball smartly ago keep the defense moving.
Keith: Is Hailey the best hitter you have worked with?
Keamo: Yeah, she is. I’ve played with other hard hitters, but yeah, she’s the best one.
Keith: Have you been surprised how many assists you’ve been racking up?
Keamo: Yeah, it’s been surprising how many assists I’ve been getting, and I know to keep getting them I have to be sure I am placing the ball at the right place, away from the defense, at the right time, so the hitters have a chance to put it down.
Keith: There have always been comparisons between playing setter and playing quarterback. Is it accurate to say the positions are similar?
Keamo: I’ve heard that and I think there is a lot of accuracy there. The setter has control of where the ball goes pretty much every play, and so does a quarterback. As setters we have to see the defense and know where they are at and set the ball to the right spot, and if you think about it, that’s what a quarterback is doing is kind of the same thing.
Keith: What’s it like working with Coach (Mary) Schindler?
Keamo: She’s great, just so encouraging. Like if I miss a set or mess up a serve, she’s right there to encourage me and let me know I’ll get it next time. She really understands how to get the most out of us I think, and she’s very energetic, which I like.
Keith: What is this team’s biggest strength in your opinion?
Keamo: I think our togetherness, our chemistry. We are really close and we stick together on the court no matter what happens. Some teams, you see them get down on each other after one or two points, but even if we have three or four straight points scored on us, we come together in our circle and we encourage each other and keep everyone’s heads up. That’s so important in volleyball.
Keith: What does this team have to do to repeat as Lone Star Conference champions?Keamo: We have to push through, play the best we can play no matter what? If we’re playing a lesser team, don’t play down to them, play how we know we can. And when it gets tough, we just have to push through, because we know we can do it.