Hodge embraces role on, off the court

Shae Ware

Jade Hodge is a prime example of a well-rounded Ichabod.

In her athletic career, Hodge was a four year letterwinner for volleyball at Mission Valley High School in Eskridge Kansas, has earned All-League Honors all four years of high school, earned 2nd Team All-State as a Junior and 1st Team All-state as a Senior.

She has been dominating behind the service line for the Washburn volleyball team as well. With 18 aces, Hodge tops her team’s rankings and is one of the top servers in the MIAA. She averages 0.29 aces per set per wusports.com however, she is still looking to improve.

“Right now, my confidence in my serve hasn’t been that great,” Hodge said. “I try to say to myself before every serve, ‘you’re awesome, you can do this, you’re going to get this in.’”

Her serving isn’t the only thing that she excels at either. Hodge is a defensive specialist currently averaging 0.43 points per set, 0.14 kills per set, 0.11 assists per set and an outstanding 2.19 digs per set per wusports.com. The impressive defensive plays she executes is how she believes she helps rally the team when they are down.

“Sometimes I make some good plays, like a dive here and there,” said Hodge. “The defensive plays get people more excited.”

Appearing in 11 matches in 2015, Hodge had stepped up her game for the next year and played in 52 sets across 26 matches. She finished the 2016 season with six service aces and 26 digs, seven of which were in one match against the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Sept. 23.

Her volleyball performances aren’t the only thing she is contributing to Washburn University. As a 4.0 student majoring in math education, she has had to balance a job, school and volleyball, and is excelling at all of them. In 2016, she was on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll, which has not always been easy, but Hodge makes it work.

“I really want to keep my GPA, and staying involved in campus is important,” said Hodge. “You just have to make sure that you have time to study and that you actually study. Just shut everything off and focus.”

Off the court, Hodge also likes keeping the volleyball team involved with events on campus, as well as just helping them stay aware of what is happening in the world off the court.

“I just try to help the team keep an open mind,” Hodge said. “I invite them to all the random events on campus, keep them involved and share with them what’s going on in the world today. I make sure they know what’s up.”

Chris Herron, head volleyball coach, has been a big part of Hodge’s volleyball career here at Washburn. Hodge said that one way that Herron has positively influenced her has been through his work ethic in the weights room and his emphasis on players working hard to stay in shape.

“I have a lot of respect in how he has kept himself in good physical shape and I admire [his dedication] in the weight room and try to work hard [like he does,]” Hodge said.

For the rest of the 2017 season, Hodge is looking to help improve the volleyball team’s record and keep their hopes high for the post season.

“This whole year I just want to have fun,” Hodge said. “I am looking forward to playing Emporia again. I think we have a good chance at being MIAA Conference Champions.”