Smooth Operator: L-O’s Olson has led the team to its best season in over a decade

Published 5:09 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

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LEROY – Playing setter on a volleyball team can be similar to standing in the middle of a storm. Shouts are coming from the crowd, hitters are demanding the ball, and the defense is always shadowing you.

LeRoy-Ostrander senior setter Jenna Olson is the calm in the middle of the storm as she runs the team’s offense without any sense of panic. She recently notched her 1,000th career set assist for the Cardinals and she’s the primary distributor on a team that is enjoying its best season in over 10 years.

“(Jenna) plays a huge role. I think she runs an effective offense and she takes control,” L-O head coach Lindsay Milks said of Olson. “She runs with a very fast paced ball and our hitters have had to adjust to that. She works really well with everybody on the court. Without good passing, we wouldn’t be where we’re at. The hitters get a lot of the credit, but she deserves so much more than she sees sometimes. It’s a very quiet position.”

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The Cardinals (10-7 overall) have a solid chance to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2012, when the team went 20-10 overall. That year was also the last time L-O played a playoff match in Civic Center.

Olson and the Cardinals are hoping to accomplish each of those tasks again this season.

“It’s been fun because we can win, and we have a lot of talent. We’ve been working so hard and we’ve been doing pretty good,” Olson said. “The goal is to get to the Civic Center. I’ve never played there before.”

Olson has been setting since she was in sixth grade and she is in her third year as a setter on the varsity team. She played in a two-setter system as a sophomore and she’s the team’s lone setter this season.

Olson is solely responsible for reading the defense and finding the right hitter.

“It takes a lot to know how to set certain players and what kind of sets they like,” Olson said. “You have to get used to different players and what they like. I’ve learned a lot being a setter for so many years and I’ve seen so many different girls play since I was younger.”

Olson’s experience has proved beneficial to the Cardinals and she doesn’t mind carrying the top leadership role on the team. With that being the case, Milks isn’t afraid to throw a lot of responsibility to her setter.

“I probably ask the most of (Jenna) and she can sometimes hear a lot from me. I just ask her to be that leader and I ask her to always work hard and encourage her teammates,” Milks said. “She’s worked very hard for (1,000 set-assists) and her teammates really wanted this to happen for her.”

Olson isn’t sure if she’ll play volleyball after high school and her favorite memory has been enjoying her time on the court with her friends and teammates. When she hit the 1,000 assist milestone last week, the match was stopped and she was honored.

“I just kind of stood there on the court, shocked,” Olson said. “Everyone was yelling but I didn’t know what for, I thought it was just another kill.”

The Cardinals will host Lyle-Pacelli at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.