Update: Arizona's tournament in Florida has been canceled due to Hurricane Irma.
As she began her fourth year on the Arizona women’s volleyball team, Jade Turner knew something had to change.
Turner was putting in the effort but still fell like she trailed most of her teammates. She knew, deep down, that she would need to put in extra hours — and sweat — to make an impact.
And that’s exactly what Turner did. She returned to Tucson in early June to perfect her craft, then cracked the Wildcats’ starting lineup. The middle blocker notched a career-high 10 kills in last week’s match against Radford in the Cactus Classic. The the Wildcats (4-2) were scheduled to play in this weekend’s FSU/FAMU Classic in Tallahassee, Florida, but the matches have been canceled due to Hurricane Irma.
“She’s always possessed the talent to be a significant player for us in that position,” UA coach Dave Rubio said. “This year particularly she’s been able to play a little more consistently and start to understand the game better, see the game better.”
Turner knows the pressure to perform. Her father, Joe Turner, played basketball under Lute Olson from 1985-1988. She says she tries not to let the legacy affect her game, “because it really doesn’t matter what my dad did. I have to make my own footprint on the school.”
Instead, she seeks advice from her father. Joe Turner encouraged her daughter play on her intuition and instincts. He reminds her to not worry about who’s ever behind her on the bench and what they say.
As a relative newcomer to the sport, Turner has a hard time tracking the ball in flight. Despite that, she’s “quick as a cat” and a terrific jumper, Rubio said.
“I told Jade this several years ago: she possesses the talent to be the best middle blocker that we’ve ever had in the program, and I still stand by that statement,” Rubio said.
Now, Rubio says, Turner has “the potential to dominate.”
“Now that I’m a starter, I have to keep a clear head and keep in mind that this is what I’ve been building up to,” she said. “I just have to put in my all, all day, every day, even when I don’t feel like putting in my all.”