Freshman Jordan Bernard takes on out-sized role


Cristian Orellana

General Studies freshman Jordan Bernard lines up a serve. Bernard is third on the team in kills. Photo credit: Cristian Orellana

Rosha'E Gibson

Loyola volleyball added several players to the roster this year, none playing a bigger role than general studies freshman Jordan Bernard. Bernard may play a big role, but she is undersized as an outside hitter according to Head Coach Jesse Zabal.

Zabal said Bernard makes up for it with her athleticism.

“She’s a great jumper and a strong hitter,” Zabal said. “It does take more attention from her to make smart shots, as well as having a solid understanding of what the opposing team’s defense looks like.”

The Austin, Texas native racked up 173 kills in the season so far, the third highest total on the team despite being listed as 5’8.

According to, the average height for an outside hitter in the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics is 5’10 in the 2017 season.

Bernard expressed that it can be frustrating to be undersized at her position. Bernard explained some of the challenges she faces.

“What I’ve been working on so far is not just trying to swing away at the ball,” Bernard said. “At times, I have that opportunity, but since most of the people I go up against are 5’11 or 6’0, I have to do more with my game. That just means perfecting my craft.”

Zabal said she first came across Bernard’s film in her emails as the recruiting process was coming to a close in the late spring.

“We were very excited that even with the short amount of time that we had contact with her, she felt that she could find a home with us for the next four years,” Zabal said

Bernard took a large role for a freshman, starting more than half the games this season. Zabal said that Bernard has earned that through her play.

“Jordan has worked hard from our first practice in August, so she’s earned the spot on the court,” Zabal said.

Bernard said that the community aspect of the team has been incredibly helpful for her freshman year.

“Knowing that I have a group of 15 people that I know and if I need help with homework or anything, I can always call or text them, and they’ll be on their way,” Bernard said.

Zabal expressed her excitement for Bernard’s future at Loyola.

“She has done a lot of great things for us so far this season and I look forward to her development throughout her time at Loyola,” Zabal said.

Bernard expressed her optimism for the rest of the season

“I have real high hopes for us in the conference tournament,” Bernard said. “I know that we’ve kind of been on a roller coaster this season, but I think that when November comes, we’ll be prepared take anyone down.”