(Mustang Daily File Photo)
Mustang Daily Staff Report
After Jennifer Keddy was forced to redshirt the 2012 season following a shoulder surgery, a delay in her recovery from a new injury is threatening her offseason preparation for 2013.
Two weeks ago Keddy was forced back to the hospital when a stress fracture on her foot proved not to be healthy enough to heal on its own.
“I just try to stay positive,” Keddy said. “There’s nothing I can do about it. I just try and really focus on doing what I could for the team.”
She expects to have her boot off by July 17 at which point she’ll slowly make her way back onto the court.
Now Keddy finds herself repeating the adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” while she and head coach Sam Crosson look to the fall where they hope a new team will emerge on the court in the Mott Athletics Center, looking to improve off a 4-26 (3-15 Big West) season.
After being awarded the 2011 Big West Conference Player of the Year, Jennifer Keddy was expected to do great things on the volleyball court in the 2012 season.
She led the Big West Conference in kills per set with 4.06, and she ranked third with a .339 hitting percentage and 1.22 blocks per set.
But in volleyball — as in all sports — it is wise to expect the unexpected.
After fighting the pain and playing with a shoulder injury during her junior year, Keddy was forced to undergo shoulder surgery in July, putting the 6-foot-4 middle blocker on the bench and forcing her to redshirt this past season.
It was Crosson’s first year at the helm of the Cal Poly volleyball team, and he knew then it was an ominous beginning as soon as Keddy went down. But now he is optimistic about her return.
“It’s certainly going to help having Keddy back on the court next year,” Crosson said. “She’s shown that she is capable of many things on the court that help other people be successful.”
With a new recruiting class and a recuperating Keddy, Crosson is looking to put a new team in between the lines of the court this coming fall.
The addition of six incoming freshmen on the court will extend the roster to 18 players. According to Crosson, these players will be expected to change the dynamics of the team and put pressure on players to compete for positions.
“I think as the course of fall camp goes along and we start seeing who rises to take certain spots on the court, it’ll make us better and will increase the competitiveness in our gym,” Crosson said.
Middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald from Southlake, Texas and outside hitter Krissy Witous, a native of Rancho Santa Fe, will both look to make impacts on the volleyball squad as they join the team in the fall.
“I expect Krissy and Taylor to come in and compete for starting spots right away,” Crosson said. “The others certainly have skillsets and tangibles that we want as the course of the season goes on, and hopefully they can bring certain aspects of their game to compete for playing time.”
And if her foot progresses as expected, Keddy will compete in her last year of collegiate volleyball in the 2013 season.
“With these two surgeries, I know that I’m just going to come back in the fall and want it so much more,” Keddy said. “That’s what is getting me through this now. The fact that I get to play again … it could be worse. I cannot wait to be in Mott again and play in front of all those people. I’m ready.”
Jefferson P. Nolan contributed to this staff report.