Volleyball

High school volleyball: Cary-Grove's Jenna Splitt commits to Iowa

Position change pays off for Trojans' setter

Cary-Grove's Jenna Splitt hits the ball during a match last season. The sophomore setter committed to Iowa on Tuesday.
Cary-Grove's Jenna Splitt hits the ball during a match last season. The sophomore setter committed to Iowa on Tuesday.

A 47-second video made all the difference for Cary-Grove’s Jenna Splitt.

Splitt, who enters her sophomore volleyball season next month, has primarily played right-side hitter throughout her career. Last year, C-G coach Patty Langanis moved the freshman to setter for the Trojans' varsity squad.

Splitt continued to play right-side hitter during the club season, when most college coaches hit the recruiting trail. Because of that, many college coaches never saw Splitt’s abilities at setter.

Langanis, who played volleyball at Iowa herself, sent a 47-second clip of Splitt playing setter to the Iowa coaching staff.

“That 47-second video was enough just to get her on campus,” Langanis said. “Once she got there, she realized you can’t do much better than Iowa and the situation they were offering her.”

Splitt announced her commitment to Iowa on Tuesday after visiting campus last week.

“I’m thrilled,” Splitt said. “To be honest, I think I’m still processing everything because going to a top school like Iowa has always been a dream of mine.”

Splitt said she was also considering Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois and UC Berkeley, among others. She wants to take a pre-med track and study neonatology, so Iowa’s medical programs fit with her academic goals as well.

Bond Shymansky enters his fifth season as Hawkeyes volleyball coach next month.

“I’ve always wanted to go to a big school in a competitive conference and Iowa is definitely that,” Splitt said. “The campus is gorgeous, especially [Carver-Hawkeye Arena]. Also, Coach Bond really reminds me of Coach Langanis and I love that coaching style.”

At 5-foot-10, Splitt likely isn’t tall enough to play an attacking position in the Big Ten, where hitters typically stand 6-foot or taller. The move to setter made sense, long-term. Langanis was impressed with how quickly Splitt picked up the setter position last season, and how she handled herself in the competitive Fox Valley Conference as a freshman.

“The setter is the quarterback,” Langanis said. “She trains a lot, as much as she can in the summer. That just shows how athletic and determined she is that she could do something at that level that most girls are training years and years for.”

Splitt plays club volleyball for Sky High Volleyball, based in Crystal Lake. She was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention as a freshman in 2017.

“Coach Langanis was a huge help throughout the recruiting process with Iowa,” Splitt said. “I also want to thank all my coaches and amazing teammates at Sky High for always pushing me to be my best. And, of course, my family who have never stopped believing in me.

“Over the next three years, I know I have to put in a lot of hard work, but I couldn’t be more excited to be a Hawkeye.”

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