Team captain of the APU Women’s Volleyball team talks about the difficulties of the sport, and what it means to realign your goals towards the end of the season. 

Annaka Jorgenson grew up in a family that loved to play baseball, which influenced her decision to play softball at a young age. 

However, once she got to the 8th grade she realized that she had a deep passion for volleyball. 

Jorgenson is a senior and team captain of the Azusa Pacific University women’s volleyball team. Jorgenson talked about how her dad and brothers loved baseball, so naturally, she played softball as a kid. “My dad had a bat in my hands from the time I was 3-years-old,” she recalled.  

Things changed once she joined her local volleyball club in the 8th grade. She fell in love with the sport as soon as she started playing it and enjoyed how fast-paced the sport was because it added to the excitement of the game. Through volleyball, Jorgenson found a sport that she could claim as her own: “I chose volleyball because it was my own thing, and no one in my family has ever done it before,” she said.

After deciding between attending APU or Biola University, Jorgenson found her place as an outside hitter on APU’s volleyball team. She felt APU calling to her. “What stood out to me was meeting the girls on the APU volleyball team, and seeing how they welcomed me with open arms,” she said. For Jorgenson, that helped solidify her decision to choose APU. 

She goes further to talk about the relationship and bond that she has with her teammates. Even though Jorgenson describes her teammates as being different from one another, volleyball has played the biggest role in bringing the team together. 

That shared fondness for the sport has allowed her to cultivate meaningful friendships with the girls on her team. “My teammates are some of my best friends on and off the court,” she said. 

In addition, Jorgenson was crowned All-PacWest Honors this season. She was grateful to her teammates for helping her achieve this honor and recognizes that she couldn’t have fulfilled this accomplishment without her setters making great sets or her liberos working hard to dig up the balls. The honor doesn’t only belong to her, but it also belongs to her coach and team as well. 

Furthermore, Jorgenson is humbled by the opportunity to be playing volleyball at APU. She remarked, “It’s kind of unreal that God allows me to play volleyball here.” She went on to express her gratitude for God’s goodness, and how she wants all the glory to go to him at the end of the day. 

Now that the volleyball season is coming to a close, Jorgenson said the team has no chance at winning the All-PacWest league. After discovering this unfortunate news, Jorgenson said, “this has been a really big test of character because how do you respond when winning isn’t the end all, be all anymore.” Readjusting their goals for the end of the season has been key for the team, and Jorgenson has been helping her teammates realign their objectives for the rest of the season. 

The team started to focus on holding each other accountable and pushing each other to do their best every day. This caused the team to coin the motto, “winning the day,” meaning they were going to give everything they could at each practice and game. 

Jorgenson started to encourage the girls on her team to achieve what she knew they were capable of. “Accountability is a form of love and encouragement,” she said. The tough love she shows to her teammates helps the girls to hone their skills in the sport. Jorgenson sees everything that her team can achieve, so she wants to motivate them to always strive to be better than before. 

Furthermore, Jorgenson talks about how volleyball is known as a mental sport. “What separates the good from the great is someone’s mental toughness,” she asserted. Usually, when a team loses a point, it’s due to an individual on the team making a mistake. It’s easy for the athletes to get in their heads and worry about making errors during the game. However, doing pre-game devotionals helps the team get into the right mindset before each match. 

Lastly, when Jorgenson was asked about her favorite highlights from this season, she said praying with the other team after games is a stand-out moment for her. Whether they win or lose, they always ask the other team to pray with them after a game. She said praying with her rivals is a “really sweet picture of what the kingdom of God looks like,” because they are standing hand in hand praying to the same God. Prayer bonds the two opposing teams together, helping them to recognize that they are more than competitors. 

Even though the team’s plans have changed throughout the course of the season, they’ve repositioned themselves to find new goals to accomplish.