Jenkins brings new attitude

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 24, 2006

MURFREESBORO – After the finishing the 2005-06 season with an 8-18 record, the Chowan University volleyball program brought in a proven winner to reverse their fortunes.

Marci Jenkins comes to Murfreesboro from Mills Godwin High School in Richmond, Virginia where she was the head coach of consecutive winning seasons at the renowned volleyball powerhouse.

A graduate of Virginia Union University, Jenkins got her feet wet in the coaching ranks at Hermitage High School in Richmond’s West End, where she led the Lady Panthers to an 84-36 record over eight seasons.

In 2003 and 2005, Jenkins was selected to lead the Virginia High School Girl’s Volleyball East Team, and during the 2003-04 season she led a club team to a 54-21 record while qualifying for the Junior Olympics, the first of back-to-back appearances.

The Chicago native, who herself was a four year starter in college as well as being named Captain for two seasons, is excited about the coming years for the Hawks.

&uot;We have a lot to be excited about,&uot; the first year head coach said at the University’s media day. &uot;I expect that we will be able to get the type of players here that will help bring this program to prominence.&uot;

Jenkins, who is a self-professed defensive minded coach, said that recruiting the right type of player is key for the Hawks.

&uot;I want to recruit players to come play the positions they have had success in playing before,&uot; Jenkins explained. &uot;For the type of game we want to play, if I want a setter, then I need to recruit a prolific setter as opposed to trying to convert someone from another position.&uot;

Jenkins has had to back off her philosophy with her prized recruit for the upcoming season, Jazmine Orozco.

Orozco, who chose to play for Jenkins despite offers to go to school in her home state of Texas, is optimistic about having to switch positions at this level.

&uot;I’m excited about helping coach get this program off the ground and running,&uot; Orozco said. &uot;I’m not at all scared about trying something new.&uot;

Orozco, who has traditionally played ‘the middle’ in high school and at the club level, has been working on making the adjustment to being a defensive player first.

&uot;I know all the tricks in the middle,&uot; Orozco admitted. &uot;Playing on the outside will take some getting use to.&uot;

Getting Orozco to come to rural Murfreesboro from her home in El Paso is only the beginning as far as Jenkins is concerned.

&uot;There are areas of the country that have traditionally been breeding grounds for volleyball talent,&uot; Jenkins said. &uot;I think that we should have success recruiting in those locales.&uot;

California, Illinois, Kentucky and Florida are some of the states that Jenkins said must be combed over to find talent.

&uot;Kids in California and Florida get to play all year long with the beaches available to them,&uot; Jenkins noted. &uot;International as well as junior college players will be targets for us as well.&uot;

Jenkins’ grueling six-hour practices and defensive focus will help weed out players who will not fit into her style of play.

&uot;I had seven players show up for spring ball,&uot; Jenkins said. &uot;Only one has returned thus far.&uot;

Last season the Lady Hawks won 44 percent of their matches but only 35 percent of their games.

That culture of ‘feast or famine’ will need to be reversed as two of the first five opponents the Hawks face this season, Peace College and Greensboro College, blanked Chowan in three outings last year.

After scrimmaging Barton College on Aug 23 the Hawks open up their regular season on the road at Virginia State University on Aug 30.

Last season Chowan split their two meetings with the Trojans, winning five of the eight games they played.