Spotlight on Sophomore Spiker
Jessica Sodich, RRAC Leader in Kills
The Inside on an Outside Hitter
By Tyler-Marie Evans
You can hear a pen drop in the gym. Eyes scan the court as the crowd and the players anticipate the opposing team’s serve. Suddenly, the atmosphere transforms when the ball is shot into the air like a cannon.
Out of nowhere comes a slender, auburn-headed Lions volleyball player who sends the ball directly to the opposite side, scoring a point for her team.
It was the work of Jessica Sodich!
When her volleyball coach, Hank Moore, was asked to describe this player, he used one word; “Relentless.”
Relentless is showing no end of strength or intensity. The performance of Sodich in this game was not unlike her normal effort.
At 19, she led her team this season with 523 kills.
Darin David, the Sports Information Director for the Red River Athletic Conference, described Sodich’s play: “(She’s) soft-spoken and carries a big stick, rather, a potent right swing.”
She began her volleyball journey in the seventh grade, so Sodich is no novice. A sophomore from Arlington, she knows well the demands of the game.
The task of being a student-athlete has its own demands.
“It is definitely challenging at times,” she says, “but I make sure to have a set-time to do homework as well as time to hang out with friends and time for my workouts.”
She has had opportunities to participate in a variety of sports over the years; ranging from softball and gymnastics to basketball.
“I would like for sports to affect the rest of my life,” Sodich explains, “because when I look back on my accomplishments and rewards, I know that I (have) worked hard and (have) never given up.”
That work ethic has propelled her to Southwestern Assemblies of God University and its women’s volleyball team.
Coach Moore remembered when she tried out for the team. Four coaches were asked to evaluate her and each gave her an outstanding score. According to Moore, one of them said, “I honestly believe she could be the next All-American.”
Surrounded by inspiring teammates and a mentoring coach, Sodich feels like the SAGU team has become a second family to her.
Volleyball is a time for building both relationships and skills for playing the game!
She has played in 76 college matches in two seasons and has her own way of facing the intensity that comes with the action-packed, fast-paced sport.
She applies heat to her knees and has her ankles taped. Besides the physical preparation, listening to music before competing prepares her mentally.
Her goal is to get and to stay focused. The 5’8” Outside Hitter makes a mental list of her goals that she wants to achieve in every match.
What happens when this athlete hits the court? How does she describe playing in front of the home crowd at the Sheaffer Center?
“When the crowd is cheering and involved with the game, it gets me pumped up! It gets me more focused to play at my highest potential!”
“I feel most comfortable in volleyball when I am on the front row and attacking,” says Sodich. “My greatest strength is hitting the ball around (the other team’s) blockers and finding the holes on the other side of the court.”
Her methods definitely have produced results. Her average number of kills per game (4.2) not only tops the SAGU team, but also the entire RRAC.
Sodich has been one of the strongest assets for her volleyball team. Her determination and commitment have made her stand out on the volleyball court.
SAGU has helped her in volleyball as well. “I have grown in sports, not only physically, but as a leader,” she points out.
“I didn’t play on defense last year. I played only on the front row. This year I have played all the way around (including the back row).”
“As a leader on the court, I have grown by working hard and encouraging my teammates and putting them before myself.”
Sodich desires to inspire new players starting the game. Unsure of what to do in a new sport, she shares words of assurance.
“Work hard and always listen to your coaches,” she says. “They know what they are talking about.”
She has two more years to make digs and to send blasts at opponents. An example for competitors, she has only just begun her journey towards what God has in store for her.
Note About the Writer: Tyler-Marie Evans is an English major with a creative writing emphasis at SAGU. Her minor is in Digital Media Arts.
Evans is from Waxahachie, Texas. She is a product of Rock Community School.