Jessica Goertzen and the Royals travel to Southern Virginia on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m., before returning home to host Mary Washington on Oct. 27, at 1 p.m., for their final game of the season. The game will also be senior recognition night. Photo by Wayne Gehman.

Goertzen is EMU’s Featured Student-Athlete

Name: Jessica Goertzen
Year: Junior
Sport: Women’s Volleyball
Hometown/High School: Goessel, KS/Goessel
Specs: ODAC All-Academic Team (2010-11), ODAC All-Academic Team (2011-12).  Played in 68 matches in her three seasons.  This season: third on the team with 19 service aces, fourth on the team with 2.76 digs per game (as of 10/19/12).

What is your major?  What do you hope to do?

Elementary Education.  I hope to teach second or third grade.

What originally made you choose to come to EMU?

I choose EMU because I was able to play volleyball and participate in other things like choir.  I also like the small Christian campus.  I heard about EMU through Mennonite Convention and when I came out for a visit I really loved the feel of campus.  It felt like home away from home.  I also wanted to experience a new part of the United States and meet new people, and I was really excited to be on a cross cultural (Guatemala and Mexico in spring 2012).

What has it been like playing women’s volleyball here?

It’s been an amazing experience.  Every year the team becomes like a family, and apart from that being able to play volleyball at the college level has been amazing, too.  Just being challenged at a higher level of play has been fun.

What has it been like being both a student and an athlete while at EMU?

Balancing everything is a challenge at times, but the coaches and professors are very flexible and willing to work with us.   I also enjoy staying busy with lots of different things so it’s not a problem.  I’m also in Chamber Singers, celebration (Sunday night campus worship) and work study.  Music is a big part of my life and that’s another reason why I choose to come to EMU.  The choir director was flexible, allowing me to participate in choir and still in sports.  Being in involved in celebration and Bible studies has been good, too, giving me more opportunities to grow in my faith.

In your three years, you have had three different coaches.  How has that affected your experience?

Having three different coaches helped me perfect different skills because different coaches have different perspectives on what they want me to improve upon.  I’m always trying to improve my skills anyway, but you have to keep an open mind and be ready for anything when you don’t know what kind of coach you’re going to get.

What are one or two things you have learned from playing volleyball here that you will take with you when you leave?

I’ve learned that leadership on a team can come from more than one person.  Supporting your teammates and being close to them off the court is important as well – you have to feel comfortable with each other so that you play well together on the court.