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The former Eagles standout is already embracing the challenges of college at Radford, but she's one of several local players representing the West in today's game.
The Roanoke Times | File
Jordan Watson set the VHSL record for career kills before graduating from Auburn High School
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Jordan Watson found some crossover between high school and college volleyball.
The recent graduate of Auburn High School will take part in today’s Virginia High School Coaches Association all-star game, which is an event to recognize the best high school players, but she is already a college student and actively working with the Radford University team.
So far, that work has been in open gym, but Watson passed her physical and is cleared to start weight training Monday. She’s been in class this summer, too, getting a jump on the academic side of being a collegiate athlete.
NCAA Division I volleyball is a long way from VHSL Division 1, but Watson is ready. She will be on the court today with 23 other players who are among the best in the state. Only two others on the West squad are from Group A schools, but that does not mean she is unfamiliar with the team. Five players on the West team are teammates in club volleyball, including Caroline Brailsford of Patrick Henry , the Timesland female athlete of the year.
Brailsford is a setter who has racked up many assists on Watson kills for their R oanoke United travel team. Watson says having Brailsford on the floor will be a big help.
“It’s cool to say I’ve played with these girls, and being together one last time, before we all go our separate ways to college will be special,” Watson said.
She said being selected for the all-star game was an honor, but it was a no-brainer for the VHSCA, considering Watson is now the Virginia High School League record holder for kills in a career.
The record was an outstanding individual achievement, but Watson said it pales in comparison to the joy of winning the state championship, which Auburn did in November, the first state title for the school in volleyball after many years of sustained success.
“The championship was something we got to celebrate as a team, and the whole community was behind us. It meant a lot to so many people who supported us,” Watson said.
Auburn coach Sherry Millirons , who is one of the coaches for the West all-star team, said the 2011 loss in the state tournament to Mathews was such a heart-wrench ing defeat (14-16 in the fifth game) that Watson and the Eagles returned last season knowing anything less than a state championship was tantamount to failure.
Having senior leadership from a player who led the team in kills and was an offensive force for all four years of high school was vital.
“Jordan is one of the best competitors I’ve ever coached,” Millirons said. “She is so aggressive going for the ball, a very aggressive hitter. She’s a smart player and a strong hitter.”
It helps that Watson is 6-foot-1 and can elevate 25 inches when approaching the net. Opponents in Group A didn’t fare well. Auburn was undefeated against Group A competition.
But there are no weak spots on the other side of the net in an elite-level all-star game, a fact Watson relishes.
“I love the competition. It’s fun to be in a competitive match where everyone is a great player,” she said.
Don’t tell her it’s just an exhibition.
“Jordan wants to win. She wants to win everything,” Millirons said. “She’s one of the most competitive people I know.”