Speculating about who could be the future of USF volleyball is a risky proposition, but Rachel Jobes seems to fit the mold. The 6-foot freshman middle blocker displays great agility and superior athletic prowess as evidenced by her ability to grab the rim on a basketball hoop.
“She’s very athletic and a quick learner,” USF coach Nancy Mueller said. “Her arm swing is really coming along this year. It’s becoming more efficient and more powerful. She could be a star player.”
Jobes had some big shoes to fill, as she stepped in at the middle blocker position for departing seniors Rachelle Paul and Crissy Bush. This year’s Bulls were facing the loss of three key players, but Jobes has stepped up to the challenge.
Fellow freshman middle blocker Shameka Mitchell credits her teammate with greatly improving the team’s defense.
“Rachel’s really good on defense,” said Mitchell. “We need more help there and she really brings that for us. She’s very good at blocking and that helps.”
Along with Mitchell, Jobes was named to the Conference USA All- Freshman team. Jobes has been a dominating force in the Bulls 21-8 record, with her 138 kills and 38 blocking assists for the season.
Mueller attributes this season’s success not only to talent, but more importantly team cohesion. “Rachel gets along great with the team,” Mueller said. “There’s a really good team chemistry. Rachel’s teammates are helping her enjoy Tampa.”
The fact that Jobes is a standout in her first year should come as no surprise – she was a three-sport star at St. Michael High School in St. Michael, Minn. During her prep career, Jobes excelled in basketball, volleyball and track, all while maintaining at least a 3.67 GPA. Although she began her sports career in basketball, Jobes quickly took to volleyball when she began playing for her junior high school in the seventh grade.
Her dedication to the sport quickly increased when she was selected for the Nike Minnesota Elite Volleyball Club, which placed fifth in Division Nationals for 17-and-under, and Jobes was a Club Qualifier for 18-and-under. She was an outstanding player for both her club and high school teams, as well as dominating in basketball and track. Jobes was voted Most Valuable Player of her high school volleyball team both her junior and senior years, and still holds the school record for the most kills and ace blocks. Despite her talents in other sports, Jobes chose to stick with volleyball for a number of reasons.
“I felt it was something for me, it was a nice change from basketball,” Jobes said. “Plus, the schools I liked recruited me for volleyball. Most basketball schools are up North and I really wanted to come down South. I was tired of the cold weather, and I’m interested in marine biology.”
She credits her many successes in life, as well as sports, to the love and support of her parents, David and Naomi. Jobes, who is an only child, said her family is very close and she still talks to her mother every day.
In fact, it was her father, also a three-sport athlete, who encouraged her to “get outside and shoot baskets,” said Jobes. She also said her parents always encouraged her to participate in any sport she wanted and never let the fact that she was female hold her back.
Although it’s hard being so far away from home, Jobes is adjusting to life in Tampa with the help of her teammates and the sunny weather.
With only one day off per week, Jobes doesn’t have much time to make it to the beach. However, she does spend what little free time she has soaking up the Florida rays, lying by the pool. Jobes also enjoys shopping and attending intramural sport events with her friends.
“After two visits, I knew I wanted to come to USF,” Jobes said. “I loved coach Mueller, I loved the campus and I really like warm weather and the beach. I knew USF was my school.”
Mueller agreed that Jobes and USF were a perfect from the start. Mueller first scouted Jobes at the Volleyball Junior National Championships and immediately liked what she saw.
“I liked her right away,” Mueller said. “Not only is she a good volleyball player, but she was also a very good athlete, which is hard to find.”
Now that the volleyball regular season is at an end, it looks as though Mueller’s first impressions of Jobes were correct.
“She has great potential, she’s a very good athlete and she has a great work ethic,” Mueller said. “She will help this program go a long way.”
Mueller also credits Jobes for doing as much off the court as she does on.
“She’s a great kid, very giving, very caring and also very competitive,” Mueller said. “I couldn’t ask for more from her.” Mitchell agreed with her coach’s assessment.
“Rachel is really funny, really easy to get along with and talk to,” Mitchell said. “She’s easy to relax with and that makes it nice.”
- Contact Courtney Genuardi at email@example.com