For a second consecutive year Washburn Lady Blues volleyball player Tessa Jones was named an All-American.
Last year, as a sophomore, Jones was selected as a third-team All-American. This year Jones was named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association to the honorable mention team. Jones also garnered other awards for her play this year, being named to the AVCA and Daktronics all-region teams as well as a second team all-MIAA selection.
“It is a great honor to have, and I could not have received any of the honors
without the help of my team and coaches,” said Jones. “I believe I can be the leader next year. I also believe with our
team, and the personalities on it, it may take more than one person to
lead the team. They may lead in different ways, which would be
fine with me.”
In 2003 as a senior at Bishop O’ Harra High School in Lee’s Summit, Mo., Jones was selected as an All-American top 50 pick and a three-time all-state pick. She led her team to two state championships, breaking the state record for kills. Jones signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at the University of Kansas but transferred to Washburn after her freshman season with the Jayhawks. She played in 15 games for Kansas and believes her experience playing at KU helped immensely.
“I think playing at KU and seeing that level of play and players helped me in realizing what level I would have to play at to make an impact. I believe the overall play is similar, but at the [Division I] level all the girls are over six feet tall. As a result, the offense is quicker,” said Jones. “I just never felt comfortable on that team. It was nothing they did. It just wasn’t a good fit, and Washburn was and still is.”
The Lady Blues finished the year with a 27-9 record going 9-4 in the MIAA conference and winning the west division. The Lady Blues were upset by West Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament, ending their season. Jones led the Lady Blues in kills, averaging 3.74 per game and had 396 total kills on the season despite missing seven games because of an injury. Washburn returns the majority of its players next year, and Jones believes next year’s more experienced team will be much improved.
“As far as the team, I know we all would like to make it further in the tourney, come together as a team and play more consistently throughout the whole year,” said Jones. “As for me, I would like to have an injury-free year.”
Jones recently underwent knee surgery but will be at 100 percent by the beginning of the 2007 season. Monica Meisner, a 2005 second team All-American, will also be available to play next season after missing this year with an elbow injury.
“We definitely need to get
healthy. We had way too many injuries this year and a lot toward the end
of the season,” said Jones. “The sooner Monica [Miesner] is back the better off our team will be. We missed her as a leader and both an offensive and defensive impact player.”
Chris Herron, Washburn volleyball coach, was impressed with Jones’ performance this year, but he still sees plenty of room for improvement.
“Tessa is a player that the opponent made the focal point of their preparations, and she was still able to have the success that she had,” said Herron. “She had a better year as a sophomore, because she wasn’t limited by knee problems like she was this year. With the damage to her knee, she didn’t have the lateral quickness she normally has, but next year she should be able to attack from the back row better and be much improved defensively.”