Jaden Francis has been the vocal commodity during her prep years at Osage High School.
Since her first varsity match, she has been the Green Devils’ starting libero. She will likely surpass 1,000 career digs in mid-September, barring any health problems.
Francis stated, “Ever since the day I started high school it has continued to build my confidence.”
Francis made her college decision with a pledge at Upper Iowa University, aided by her three-years of high school experience and exposure to the clubs scene.
The Division II Peacocks, which compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference is coming off a 20-10 year. 13 of those wins were at the conference.
They won the NSIC tourney.
Francis stated that he knew it was the right place after visiting. “The community was small, so the number of people was perfect. I loved the feeling of being surrounded by everyone.”
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Upper Iowa has had four seasons without counting 2020, with a record of above.500 and back to back 20 win campaigns. This is an integral part Francis’ interest.
The bonus of a family environment was too good to miss.
Francis said, “They had a family-like vibe.” “I liked that. It felt right for me, and I knew it would be the best of all my options.
Between her visit to Fayette’s campus and her announcement via social media, it took four days. She knew immediately that Upper Iowa was the place she wanted for the next four-years.
Francis still has one season for Osage, before she thinks about the next level.
Francis stated that he hopes to continue his growth as a player at college and fill in the gaps.
Bryan Tabbert, Green Devils’ head coach, has witnessed the growth Francis has made every year as their primary defensive specialist and has been impressed each time.
Tabbert stated, “We play a competitive schedule and Jaden saw some of the top offensive players in state.” “She’s played at a high level.”
Francis had to win their trust with all-state players Paige Kisley, Dani Johnson, and Ellie Bobinet early on. Bobinet, who was the setter for Osage’s 2020 state title win, was even more important.
Francis was treated as an equal by these three people. They treated her as an equal.
Francis said, “They were very friendly and just wanted to help me be the best I can.”
Francis is 5’5″ and not the tallest, but that doesn’t stop her from making an impact. Osage never allowed a Top of Iowa East opponent more than 20 points in any set.
Their string of success was made possible by her communication, leadership, and scrappiness in the Green Devils’ back row.
Tabbert stated that “we’ve had some great players and every year, it is necessary for girls to step up even further and Jaden does it every year.”
It is the latest in a long line of Osage players who have played collegiate volleyball at the Division II and III levels.
Meredith Street and Johnson will be teammates at Northern Iowa in the fall of 2022. Kaebre Sullivan will travel to Georgia State to play beach volleyball.
Tabbert said, “It is a program but it is also community thing.” “They want volleyball to continue.”
Francis plans to major in biology and hopes to attend dental school after her playing days.
She’s currently focusing on her club season, and trying to get the Green Devils into another state tournament within eight months. These are two experiences that have shaped her into who she is today.
Francis stated, “Club has helped Osage program.” “It has given me the opportunity to compete with girls from all over America.
Zach Martin is a Globe Gazette sports reporter. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @zach_martin95.
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