Former Reed City volleyball standout finishes collegiate career

YPSILANTI — Kelsey Jones has said goodbye to college volleyball.

But the former Reed City standout isn’t saying goodbye to the sport.

Jones ended her senior season at Eastern Michigan University last month and started an internship in early January at the University of Michigan’s pathology lab. She anticipates graduating in April.

Jones was redshirted as a freshman in 2011 and then played four straight seasons. A middle blocker, in 2014 she was fifth on the team in kills with 180 and averaged 0.7 blocks per game. She had seven blocks in three sets against Youngstown State.

“Kelsey’s willingness to move between positions on the right side and middle helped the overall team depth,” new EMU coach Kimi Olson said. “Part way through the season it was her ability to defend at the net and work hard as a middle attacker that gave the team a stronger defensive strategy.

“I think as a player, I got so much better,” Jones said. “Looking back now, I couldn’t believe from where I started to where I’m at. I have all of my coaches throughout high school and college to thank for that, and my teammates as well. The way I’ve changed as a player and person over the last five years are really neat to look back on.”

Last season, Jones had 43 blocks and 127 kills.

“Kelsey is a quick learner and really adapted well,” Olson said. “She gave us the ability to run a more complex system because she is able to do so much as a hitter and blocker.”

“This season was a little different,” Jones said. “We had a whole staff (coaching) change. Of course, there were many adjustments compared to (the previous coach). Our new coach does things different and has different coaching styles and brought different things to the program. It was odd to change after I had been doing things a certain way four years. It was kind of refreshing to get a new look on where she would take the program.”

The Eagles were 14-16 overall and 6-10 in the Mid-American Conference.

“I had a very role-changing year,” Jones said. “I started out in the summer playing middle. Then during preseason, I kind of played a little bit of rightside. During preseason, I also had a couple of injuries that were pretty hard for me to come back from. I rolled my ankle pretty bad and was in a boot for a couple of weeks right before preseason. I was on crutches for a couple of days.

“Coming back into preseason off that ankle injury was tough. Volleyball is a lot of moving and jumping. My role was wherever I needed to go on who were playing. It was fun. It felt good to be able to play in different areas and have everyone feel comfortable in me.”

Her major is in clinic laboratory science with a minor in business. She played basketball and was in track at Reed City and was all-conference in volleyball as a junior and senior.

“Kelsey led the defense at the net contributing five blocks on five different occasions throughout the season,” Olson said. “Offensively, she really shined against some of our toughest matches of the year including going 6-for-9, with no errors, against Big 12 team West Virginia, leading us to that win. She also went 5-for-15, with no errors, in a tough match late in the season at Kent State.”

“We were kind of up and down with wins and losses,” Jones said. “I remember a couple of amazing plays my teammates made like pursuit plays. Those are the things I remember, watching my teammates go after crazy things and being able to keep the play going. There was a lot of emotion being my senior year.”

But her volleyball days haven’t ended.

“I’m still playing some rec volleyball just for fun,” Jones said. “The first time I remember playing volleyball was when I was in the fourth grade. I’m sure I played a little bit before then. There are plenty of options, especially around Ann Arbor. There’s plenty of club teams. I think I might get into coaching eventually, I’m not quite sure. I’ll miss it a lot. I’m looking forward to my career now and what I went to school for. That’s also very exciting.”