Life as a Varsity Athlete

Jordyn Roberson gives insight as to what playing for UPA’s girls’ varsity volleyball team is like.

Chelsea Nguyen
#9 Roberson poses for a photo after a sweep win home game against ACE Charter school.

Junior Jordyn Roberson had outstanding records in varsity volleyball and basketball last school year when she was recognized as one of the top twelve players in the entire league for varsity volleyball and was part of the UPA’s championship varsity basketball team that tied for first place in league finals.

Currently, Roberson is the co-captain of the girls’ varsity volleyball team.

“My cousin really got me into volleyball because she plays for the University of Utah, and my friends and family really wanted me to play basketball,” Roberson said.
Roberson has been playing volleyball since seventh grade and began playing basketball last year. This is her third year on UPA’s girls’ varsity volleyball team.

“Basketball and volleyball are outlets that I can do other than academics the whole day,” Roberson said. 

Roberson tried out for the varsity volleyball team during her freshman year and found it strenuous because she was not used to conditioning and Director of Technology Tom Guevara’s coaching. 

At home, her regular workout consists of lifting weights and she utilizes breaks in between her sets to allow herself to rest. 

Chelsea Nguyen
Roberson gets ready to serve during the game.

“During [morning] conditioning, we are timed and push our mental and physical abilities,” Roberson said. “My favorite part about conditioning is understanding that all of my teammates feel the same fatigue as I do, which pushes me to finish strong.”

The varsity volleyball team practices for two hours after school, excluding games; and practices end with light stretching and conversations among teammates.

Senior Eryn Duong, co-captain of the team, expressed that Roberson’s energy and effort during practice encourages players to push themselves and build on their skills.

“Since last year, she has been showing so much energy, and I’m so happy she got the position of co-captain,” Duong said. 

Duong described Roberson as versatile and open-minded, instructing players to positions during practices and games.

“She always tries her best in practices and takes into account what coach tells her,” Duong said.

Guevara, coach for UPA’s varsity volleyball teams, noted Roberson’s competitive nature, and since she has impressive achievements, there are expectations for her in the upcoming season.

Roberson is one of the key offensive players on the team and is expected to be a first-team all-league selection, meaning that out of all the players in the league, Roberson would be categorized into the first team of the best players.

Chelsea Nguyen
Roberson listens to coach Guevara’s advice after the game.

“She brings a certain level of focus and athleticism out of the game,” Guevara said. “She has a toughness and a tenancy that I didn’t expect and found surprising for ways she competed.”

For this season, Guevara wants to see Roberson get outside her comfort zone in practices and competitions, so she can develop new skills and improve as an athlete.

“[Athletes] develop their identities as players by doing the things that they do well,” he said. “In order to grow as a player, you have to target those things that you are uncomfortable with, so the more often you put yourself in a position where you’re uncomfortable, it challenges yourself with a weakness.”

Roberson challenges herself at every practice and applies feedback from her coaches and teammates to assist her in thriving as a volleyball and basketball athlete.

“Having your own mindset in sports will only be short-term successful,” she said. “With my coaches that understand how I play and teach me how to improve, I am extremely grateful.”

Balancing schoolwork, conditioning, and games is tiresome, but Roberson assures that playing on varsity is a thrilling experience.

“I hope to lead our team past CCS and win a league banner this year,” Roberson said. “I believe this year will be our strongest year as a unit and I hope to get more outside people involved in girls’ varsity volleyball since most people are attracted to boys’ varsity basketball.”

The girls’ varsity volleyball team poses for a photo after winning a tournament at San Franscio City College. Co-captains Eryn Duong (12) and Jordyn Roberson (11) hold the trophy. Photo courtesy of Antonie Byrd.