When the Alton Redbirds needed the Big Swing around the net this season, they turned to Jada Green.
They could count on the 5-foot-10 senior hitter supplying the powerful touch.
Green’s forceful play was a big reason the Redbirds started the season 13-2 and finished 21-13, giving them back-to-back 20-plus win season. They won a school-record 25 matches in 2014.
For Green’s efforts in spurring the Redbirds, she received the AdVantage News’ Volleyball Player of the Year award. Teammate Jordan Nolan earned the honor a year ago.
“Jada filled the role of both middle hitter and outside hitter and she was very successful at it,” AHS coach Stacey Ferguson said.
Green established a career record for kills with 630 to break the old mark of 602 that Andrea McPike set in 2008. McPike still holds the single-season mark of 227 kills in 2008. Green amassed 221 kills the past season.
“I just missed it (single-season record) by six kills,” said Green, a second-team, all-Southwestern Conference selection.
When the Redbirds were percolating, Green seemed to be at her best in the front line.
“I thought I stepped up more this year when we had a relatively new team,” said the soft-spoken Green, an honors student. “I had to assume a leadership role this season and I was more of a vocal leader. I was like a role model or mentor.”
She knew her way around the court, Ferguson said. Green served as one of Alton’s most experienced player.
“She was a four-year varsity player,” Ferguson noted.
Green earned MVP honors in the Alton Invitational and was all-tournament for the Redbird Classic and the Ritenour Invitational in St. Louis.
While Green gave the Redbirds ample leadership, she did it in her own way. Mostly, she guided by example.
“I’m not a huge yeller — I’m more quiet and easygoing,” Green said. “But I do get intense once the ball is in the air and the game begins.
“I love to play volleyball. I’ve been playing it since the fifth grade.”
Her competitive volleyball days may be behind her, though. Green is planning to attend a four-year university — possibly Kentucky — and study foreign economics.
“I haven’t decided yet where I’m going to school. I want to step away from sports, though I still might play club volleyball in college,” she said. “I want to study abroad.”
Green indicated she might like to eventually become a career diplomat. She used those diplomatic skills when necessary during her stellar career with the Redbirds.
“One thing I learned from volleyball is that you might not agree with everyone that you play with, but you have to work well with others,” Green said. “You have to work with people.”
The Redbirds were sort of a work in progress when Green played for them as a freshman in 2012. Yet they have made tangible improvement, thanks mainly to those 46 victories over the past two seasons.
“I know that I’m leaving the program in good hands,” she said.
Green and Kailin Haug are the only seniors on the 11-player squad. Juniors Savannah Fisher, Annie Evans and Kassidy Funke, plus a good group of sophomores, could bolster the Birds next season.
Green pointed out, “The last two years, all of the girls on our team played with a lot of heart. We might not have been the tallest or most experienced team, but we really wanted to win.”