GVSU senior Kendall Yerkes shares her journey as a Laker, goals for 2019 season

Kendall Yerkes sets the ball. GVL | Sheila Babbitt

Kendall Yerkes sets the ball. GVL | Sheila Babbitt

Rosemary Booher, Staff Reporter

Classes have officially started for the Lakers, and volleyball season is quickly approaching, meaning that it is the perfect time to get to know one of the players who will be leading the team. Kendall Yerkes is one of the two seniors this year who is tasked with the job of leading the team to success on and off the court.

The season’s first game will start Friday, Sept. 6 at the UNC Pembroke Invitational in North Carolina. However, Yerkes’ first ever game dates all the way back to when she was in fourth grade.

“I started playing when I was in fourth grade and it was part of my church league,” Yerkes said. “We played just about every sport in my family, but I found that volleyball was the one that I liked the most”.

What started as just an interest for a sport turned into a love and passion. Yerkes found herself willing to move from her home state of Illinois to Michigan to pursue her athletic passion as well as her academic one.

“I was open to schools in the Midwest area and someone brought up Grand Valley State as an option,” Yerkes said. “When I visited, I loved it there. I loved the campus and the team, and it was a great fit academically as well as athletically. I couldn’t have asked for anything better”.

At that point, her tenure as a Laker officially began. but that does not mean that it was all smooth sailing for Yerkes. Like most stories, there were a few bumps in the road.

“My journey’s been kinda tough,” Yerkes said. “I started off my freshman year as an outside hitter, my sophomore year I had some health issues and my junior year I was moved to libero, so it was hard transitioning to a new position. This year, I’m becoming more confident in this new position”.

This season will be a new chapter in her long journey through volleyball — one that includes hard work and leadership. Being one of the only seniors this year, Yerkes has a couple of things that she will be focusing on in order to lead her team to success this season.

“It will be important to lead through example,” Yerkes said. “It is tough to come in as a freshman, but having upperclassmen leading you helps. I hope to be able to help and guide them as much as possible if they have any questions or anything else that they need”.

This season will be anything but easy for the Lakers, as there’s bound to be quite a bit of learning in store, but that does not mean that there won’t be any success along the way.

“Being a young team, it will take us a bit longer to get going this season than some of the more experienced teams, so this season will be a slower start for us,” Yerkes said. “However, I’m excited because we have a bunch of potential on the team and we can make this year a successful one even with a slower start than the rest”.

Although the team is packed with underclassmen, Yerkes still holds high expectations for this season.

“I’m expecting a lot of growth from the team,” Yerkes said, “From where we are at right now, I hope that we can push ourselves to go farther and get the freshman to be more comfortable and confident. Being a better team in general — that is the goal for the season”.

The first home game of the season will be Friday, Sept. 20 against Northern Michigan, where Kendall will continue the final chapter of her GVSU athletic career.