Jessica Hendin: ‘I love being a ‘Roo’

Dan Moreno

UMKC volleyball’s junior Jessica Hendin was named WAC Player of the Week after her performance in the Jackrabbit Invitational last week, where UMKC defeated South Dakota State 3-0 and Stephen F. Austin 3-1.

Hendin averaged 3.82 kills, 3.82 digs and 0.55 service aces per set across three matches, and became the first UMKC athlete to win the award since Sydney Crimmins last season.

“Honestly, I did not see it coming,” Hendin said. “Right away, I just felt really excited and super thankful for that kind of award, and very thankful to my team and everyone else who was involved in it.”

Last Tuesday, the Kangaroos faced the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, Kan., but lost the preseason match 3-1.

“It is hard to face Kansas and treat it like a regular game, because it is KU,” Hendin said. “We couldn’t help to be excited with that kind of atmosphere, crowd and just the competitive level.”

Hendin joined UMKC volleyball in 2012 when Head Coach Christi Posey recruited her from Blue Valley West High School. Hendin helped Blue Valley West to place 5th in the 2011 Kansas 6A State Championship, and was named to the 2011 Kansas 6A All-State Tournament Team.

“I love this place so much,” Hendin said. “People have always asked me what is it like being 20 minutes away from home, but I wouldn’t be anywhere else. UMKC is amazing. I could go on and on talking about how much I love being a Roo.”

The Overland Park, Kan., native started playing volleyball at a young age, and chose UMKC over other schools because of opportunities presented to her to help build a stronger volleyball program in Kansas City.

“I started playing the sport when I was in third grade,” Hendin said. “When the recruiting process started happening, coach Posey was very aggressive in a sense that a lot of the freshmen class were coming from the area, and I actually played against a lot of them, which helped me realize we would have a chance to build up the program even more.”

Last season when UMKC debuted in the Western Athletic Conference, Hendin started in all 29 matches, and this year looks just as promising.

“Individually, I will try to help the team bring a competitive level to the floor and play the best that I can in every single game,” Hendin said. “Our team goals are the same as always – we want to make the WAC and keep getting better throughout the season.”

New additions to this season’s roster include Adasia Bromberger, Emma Dyer and Meagan Kerns, who redshirted last year. The team’s first conference match is Sept. 27th against Chicago State.

“We are a huge family,” Hendin said. “On the court is all business and we all take it very seriously, but off the court we just have fun and goof around like a big family.”

Majoring in pre-secondary education, Hendin already has plans for after graduation.

“I will probably coach [volleyball] down the road, but I definitely want to start teaching,” Hendin said. “Urban education – that’s what it’s looking like right now, [at] intercity schools in KCK or KCMO. I want to teach 2nd grade for sure.”

When Hendin finds a break between athletics and academics, she enjoys creating art and other artistic projects, and tries to visit home as much as possible.

“I like to draw a lot and work on craft projects every now and then,” Hendin said. “Being so close from home also allows me to go back home or go see my little sister play.”

Next up, the Kangaroos will host Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Swinney Recreation Center, and then head to Fort Myers, Fla., to compete in the FGCU Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Classic this weekend.