Arkansas transfer Jordyn Gates returns home to GV


Courtesy of Twitter @JordynGates

Justice Steiner, Staff Writer

After two seasons of volleyball at the University of Arkansas, sophomore setter Jordyn Gates is returning home to continue her career at Grand Valley State University. 

The Grand Rapids native had a phenomenal high school career, leading Grand Rapids Christan to consecutive state championships in her junior and senior seasons.

“It’s still indescribable (the feeling of winning back-to-back state championships), especially being the first time in our school’s history,” Gates said. “It was unreal.” 

Adding to that experience of two state championships was having her mother, Tiffanie Gates, as her high school coach at GRC.

“It was awesome (playing for my mom),” Gates said. “Three years of playing for her took our relationship to another level. The bond that it formed and winning two state championships with each other: it’s stories we still talk about to this day.”

In her senior year of high school, Gates finished with 1,191 assists, 418 digs, 148 kills, and 41 aces, while being a 2019 Under Armour Third-Team All-American and 2019 MaxPreps All-American Setter.

Volleyball runs in the Gates family, as her mother not only coached but played colligate volleyball at Arizona State University, while her two older sisters also played volleyball at Grand Rapids Community College and Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

Gates said her mom inspired her to play volleyball after she was around the game from a young age.

“She has been coaching ever since I was five years old, so I was kind of just in the gym around those older girls and obviously as a kid, you look up to the older girls you watch,” Gates said. “I got to watch a lot more experienced girls and see my mom in the gym. I was always just surrounded by it and thought it was so awesome.”

The recruiting process for Gates started at a young age, as she took her first official visit as a freshman to the University of Florida. Shortly after, Gates received a card from the University of Arkansas and decided to go down to the university for a camp. A week later, she received an offer and accepted it at the age of 14 and stuck with her decision to become a Razorback.

“Being 12 hours away from home was hard, but when I committed, I felt like I would still have a piece of home with me just because of how amazing everything is here,” Gates said.

Expectations to perform out of high school also weighed heavy on the former All-State volleyball player, as she was always the star of the team. But playing at UA, a big Division I school, was a huge change of pace where all of the players on the team were stars on their high school teams.

“It was hard being this big volleyball player out of high school, then going into Arkansas as a small fish in a big pond,” Gates said. 

Now, moving close to home and attending a Division II school, Gates feels as though this is the best move for her future. Gates will begin attending GVSU beginning in the winter semester of 2022 and working out with the team throughout the offseason. The quality education program that is offered was another reason Gates felt GVSU was a good fit.

“I’m really excited about that: I’ll be able to get a great education, be close to home and still play some high-level volleyball,” Gates said. “It was all just exactly what I was looking for.”

Gates said she is already feeling welcomed by the GVSU coaching staff and players in her short time meeting with them. 

“I went on a visit and met some of the girls and they’re great,” Gates said. “They are already welcoming me with open arms and it’s just that feeling of, ‘I’m accepted, I’m wanted, let’s just get to work.’”

Returning home is also allowing friends, family and former teammates to come watch Gates play her colligate games, which is just another benefit of her decision to become a Laker.

As Gates begins her new chapter of volleyball at GVSU, she said her goal is to help the Lakers bring home a national championship before her career concludes.