Freshman Rachel Jacquay sets herself up for a promising season

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Freshman Rachel Jacquay sets herself up for a promising season

GVL \ Caleb Worpel

GVL \ Caleb Worpel

GVL \ Caleb Worpel

GVL \ Caleb Worpel

Rosemary Booher, Staff Reporter

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Grand Valley State University’s volleyball team is filled with many promising freshman this season. One of those freshmen is Rachel Jacquay, one of the team’s setters. However, she hasn’t always been a setter, as back at her high school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Jacquay also played as a hitter and defensive specialist.

“During high school, I was a setter for most of the time, but I was also hitter for a while, and my senior year I was strictly a defensive specialist,” Jacquay said. “Coming to college as a setter without having to worry about playing different positions has allowed me to focus on perfecting my sets and made me feel comfortable in my role.”

Jacquay’s role on the court isn’t the only thing that has changed during her time as a collegiate athlete. She said there are a lot of differences between how she played in high school and how she plays now as a Laker.

“High school and collegiate play are very different,” Jacquay said. “The pace is faster, the preparation is more intensive and there’s more information to memorize. If you don’t eat healthy before a game, it shows. If you don’t get enough sleep the night before, it shows. Everything comes out on the court.”

Playing on the court isn’t the only thing that Jacquay enjoys about being a Laker. She also enjoys the campus, her classes and meeting new people as well.

“GVSU has been amazing,” Jacqauy said. “I love the campus and I’ve met so many great people. My classes are very interesting and I’ve been learning a ton since I first got here. I’m even lucky enough to have a class downtown, so I’m able to explore a different part of GVSU and get more of the Grand Rapids experience.”

Jacquay is not only working on her future as a student, but also as a player. She is dedicated in putting in as much time and effort as it takes to be able to get better not only for herself, but for her fellow teammates as well. 

“My personal goal for the season is to become as consistent as I can be, both with defense and running the offense,” Jacquay said. “The more consistent I am, the more my teammates trust me, and the more confident they are playing beside me. The best players in volleyball make the people around them better each time they step on the court.”

Putting her team in the best position possible is not the only thing that Jacquay is responsible for on the court; being a setter is all about multi-tasking and being able to read the court. 

“I think the hardest part about being a setter is that I need to know where everyone should be during every point, and what hits they’re running, and where they need the ball to be placed so that they can get a kill,” Jacquay said. “Setters have to know the right time to make the smart plays and the tricky plays while still playing defense and serving aggressively. The responsibility of not only taking care of myself but also everyone else on the court is a lot to handle but I’m up for the challenge.”

The Lakers have an overall record of 7-8 and a GLIAC record of 3-4. Even though this may not be the record that the team was hoping for so far, Jacquay still holds her head up high. She is confident that once they address certain issues that need to be fixed, they will become an even more successful team.

“Our record doesn’t truly depict the grit that we’ve had this season,” Jacquay said. “We’ve lost several five set matches by two points. Small details have made us lose games. We’re a very young team… but that’s no excuse for our losses. We’re going to continue to put in work on the court, in the classroom, and in the weight room. Once everything clicks, it will be nothing but up from here.”

Jacquay’s journey through her first collegiate season will continue in the upcoming GLIAC matches at home Friday, Oct. 11 against the Ferris State Bulldogs and Saturday, Oct. 12, against the Northwood Timberwolves.