Former Century volleyball star Jordan Deming gets to contribute as a freshman at Central Washington
Jordan Demings first season of college volleyball has been anything but uneventful.
In August, Deming began her college career at Central Washington University, where she expected to redshirt her first season in Ellensburg.
Midway through the season, the 2013 Century High School graduate was called into action for the Wildcats, establishing herself in the starting lineup and helping spark a 6-1 run that kept Central Washington in the hunt for an NCAA Division II regional tournament berth.
But while Deming was starting to roll, a lower back injury that had plagued her through much of the fall became excruciatingly painful and forced her out of the lineup at seasons end.
While that was a tough way for Deming to end her freshman season, the upside was that when she was out on the court, she was already showing the promise and ability that could make her a high-impact player for the Wildcats in the years to come.
I think a rollercoaster just kind of pinpoints it, Deming said. I didnt want to redshirt at the beginning of the season, but since I wasnt getting any playing time, I kind of assumed, Why waste a year when I could save a year and have all four years seeing maximum court time?
So right when I was about to give in and tell (CWU head coach) Mario (Andaya) I was going to redshirt, he was like, All right, youre not redshirting anymore. That just kind of put my season on a high and then I started playing.
We were doing so well and then this injury just put me right back where I started.
Called onto the court to shore up the Wildcats at the outside hitter position, the 5-foot-9 Deming started eight of her 10 appearances, posting 52 kills (an average of 1.73 per set) and a .135 hitting percentage.
In her college debut, Deming the Pacific Conference player of the year and a Class 6A first team all-state selection a year ago for Century triggered a 25-17, 19-25, 25-14, 22-25, 15-10 Wildcats victory against Seattle Pacific with 14 kills, 24 digs, five aces and two blocks.
It took me a few points to finally settle down and to get my composure back and to not spaz out every time the ball came to me, Deming recalled. I kind of just put it into the back of my mind that this is my first collegiate match and I just went out there and I played with the skills that I had developed here at Central, and I just played the way Ive been playing for years.
It was also fun for a team fighting for its second consecutive NCAA Division II tournament berth. Central Washington proceeded to win its next four matches posting its longest win streak of the year and went 7-3 overall with Deming on the court.
After rounding out the regular season with two more Deming-less victories, the Wildcats (15-11 overall, 11-7 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) slid into the tournament as the eighth seed in the West Regional.
They were slated to take on top-seeded Cal State Bernardino in San Bernardino, Calif., on Thursday evening in the first round of the tournament. (Results not available at press deadline.) The victor will play the Western Washington/ Sonoma State winner tonight.
Deming planned to follow the match from Ellensburg as she awaits an MRI on Dec. 12 that may reveal the cause of her back trouble. The pain began in about late September. Deming, who had never before suffered an injury that kept her off the hardwood, thought the problem was perhaps due to poor weightlifting technique.
So she kept competing, but the injury became so excruciatingly painful to play on that she finally told a school athletic trainer. A physician ruled out a stress fracture, but that MRI might shed some light on the injury, which Deming said could be a torn disc.
Deming has learned her lesson about pushing through pain and plans to be more vocal about her injuries going forward, she said. She expects that, after taking some time off and performing some rehab to strengthen her back muscles, she can get back to conditioning and training in the mid-winter.
Andaya, for one, will be excited to have her back, as she is quite a well-rounded talent.
She passes, which is a huge factor. If you can pass at any level, youre probably going to be on the court, Andaya said. Defensively, shes got good instincts out there. But offensively, too, shes learning to use her physicality.
When she learns to use her full physical abilities as far as jumping and so forth, along with her live arm, shes going to be really good offensively.
In the meantime, Deming already has some great lessons and memories to help carry her forward.
Said Deming: We had to fight to make this season a high note and to get back into the playoff position.