By Maggie McConnell ‘09
With both daughters attending college with athletic scholarships, it is safe to say that a passion for volleyball runs in the Turner family. Nineteen year-old freshman, Kelly Turner has quickly settled into her spot on James Madison University’s women’s volleyball team. Originally from Rochester, New York, Kelly began playing volleyball in elementary school because her gym teacher, also the club volleyball coach, recommended she give it a try.
Kelly quickly fell in love with the sport and the skill that she displayed for it. She went on to play for Wayne Central High School, a club team called PRIMO, and for Club Volleyball Effects. In the fall of 2008 Kelly was faced with the tough decision of where to attend college. She visited James Madison University first and liked everything about the campus saying, “it felt right.” In the end, Kelly chose to attend JMU over George Washington University and the University of New Hampshire.
Overall, Kelly believes that her transition into college life has been a pretty easy one. When asked what she thought the easiest transition was she said, “it was a pretty easy transition overall but club volleyball really helped me prepare for practice. I was pretty well conditioned to juggle school and volleyball.” The hardest part of adjusting to college has been being away from home but her parents have made a significant effort to attend and support her at her games.
As a freshman, Kelly made a strong impact on her team and coaching staff. Assistant Coach Brian Grimes said, “She came in as a starter as a freshman which is a big deal and was fairly successful in that position. She is one of the most athletic players. She is hard on herself, but it’s a good drive for her.” As a CAA All-Rookie honoree, Kelly’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. When asked what she thinks she contributes to the team Kelly said, “I am quick, explosive and focused on the court.” Kelly looks up to teammate Lauren Fanelli the most on the team, “because of her presence on the court and her leadership.” Along with having teammates to help her improve, Kelly said that her coaches have also “helped me improve all the skills that I need to work on with volleyball and also realize the skills that I could change outside of volleyball.”
Athletically, Kelly would like to continue to improve to her full potential and “hopefully be recognized by the CAA more this year.” With three years to go in her college career Kelly hopes to one day “graduate at JMU with a good GPA and have good job opportunities.” As Assistant Coach Grimes said, “She’s always pushing and driving for better.” With this mentality Kelly should shine during her four year athletic and academic career here at James Madison University.
Note: Maggie McConnell worked as a senior practicum student in the JMU Sports Media Relations Office in the spring. She graduated in May as an English major with a minor in sports communications.