Jennifer Mills | Head Coach | Women’s Volleyball | Clarion University

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

SELF MOTIVATED, POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARDS COACHES, TEAMMATES, PARENTS.

ACTIVE IN THE RECRUITING PROCESS (THE STUDENT should be the one who emails, calls, contacts the coaches not the parents) we enjoy learning about the family, getting to know them but ultimately we are recruiting the player and we want to get to know what THEY want for themselves, what their goals are not necessarily what their parents goals for them are.

GOOD STUDENT (we have less issues with motivation, they are disciplined, proactive, can handle being on the road and missing classes for matches)

CONFIDENCE

DETERMINED, ABILITY TO DEAL WITH ADVERSITY

STRONG SENSE OF FAMILY<FRIENDSHIP<LOYALTY<TEAM. (WE have an extremely close team and when we recruit, we recruit people and personalities that tend to easily bond with our current players.)

HISTORY OF SUCCESS—KNOWING HOW TO WIN. Coming from winning programs.

 

Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

We currently have a player in our program who is a Sophomore. Outside Hitter. Her name is Carlie Bieranowski. She is a Junior by academic year. She came to us during the recruiting process and showed a great deal of determination, confidence and she was extremely motivated.

She was an All-State player with a history of winning, yet had no club experience and her high school was small and the level of play was not very high.

We watched her play several high school matches and we felt that she wasn’t at the level that we thought she needed to be to make an impact on our program. We were very honest about this and even with that she remained diligent and determined and re-iterated to us that she would do anything to just be a part of the program. She informed us that she would be attending Clarion University no matter what. Her mother went here and she was choosing a school based on her academic goals, not just for volleyball.

We decided to give her a roster spot because she exhibited potential, and also the qualities that you look for in a great teammate. We red-shirted her for her freshman season.

I can’t even describe how hard this athlete worked to become better. She had moments especially in her freshman spring where she contemplated quitting because she felt it was too hard. (We all have these small moments as athletes-hers lasted only a week). Extra workouts, Individual workouts with the coaching staff every week, extra video review. Everything she needed to do and more to continue to improve.

She continued her efforts and played in several matches as a Red-shirt Freshman. She then became a Starting OH her Sophomore year. She helped our program to the NCAA Round of 32 and she is an “unofficial team captain” in her day to day actions. (We don’t have team captains, we allow people to emerge as leaders and it prevents any issues between teammates or popularity contests)

She maintains a 3.84 GPA.