Introducing Penn volleyball’s newest golden girl.
Already garnering such impressive titles as Ivy League Volleyball Rookie of Week (twice in three weeks) and DP Sports’ Player of the Week, freshman Parker Jones is making her presence well-known very early in her college career.
Jones’ level of play has been at an unprecedented level, especially for a player simultaneously making the transition to college. In the season’s first tournament, the George Mason Invitational, she showed Penn’s opponents from the start that she was a player to keep an eye on. Jones notched a double-double by scoring 13 kills and 14 digs in her very first game as a Quaker and has led the team in kills throughout the season, including a team-high 21 against Central Michigan.
Having led Acalanes High School to the California Division III State Championship in her senior year, Jones has been accustomed to playing in the high-pressure world of competitive volleyball, but college is a whole separate arena.
“It’s really different being on a team with girls who are twenty and twenty-one years old, since starting the season I was only seventeen, so it was a big difference not only in age but also in level of maturity and skill,” the rookie said about the transition.
However, she is happy in choosing to come across the country to Philadelphia for the Quakers.
“Socially and academically, the culture here is just awesome. I don’t think I could have chosen a better school to go to,” she said.
Of the 12 games the Red and Blue have played so far, Jones has led the team in kills nine times and has earned a team-high seven double-doubles. Making an impact both on and off the court, all of her coaches and teammates only have good things to say about her.
“She’s just a great athlete and a lot of fun to be around”, said first-year head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley. “I’m happy she’s here at Penn and looking forward to seeing how she grows throughout her tenure here.”
Junior Courtney Quinn echoed her coach's praise for the rookie.
“When teams are playing us she’s someone they’re worried about and she’s only a freshman. By the end of her four years here I think she’s gonna be a power player in the whole conference. She’s been such an asset for our team.”
Jones seems to be just the spark Penn needed after its sixth-place finish in the Ivy League standings last year, and although the team is only 1-2 in conference play so far, Jones' ascendency has given the team a new dynamic that could enable them to run the table as the season goes on.
Despite her early success, however, Jones refuses to be complacent.
“You can’t take any days off because you’re competing for a spot and you definitely have to push yourself to limits you didn’t think you could achieve,” she said.
And with the Quakers' newest golden girl working as hard as ever, Jones could keep making headlines for years to come.
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