Devon Jensen’s love for volleyball has taken her from the Underwood High School gym to Switzerland.
Jensen, who completed her volleyball eligibility at Grand View University last year, was invited to try out for the Iowa Ice club team. She made the cut and played on a national championship squad in May.
She and 11 other players — including all-Americans and athletes with international experience — will compete in the women’s club world championships in Zurich Oct. 9-13.
The fifth-year senior will juggle her elementary education studies while making her first trip overseas.
“I’m probably going to be the only one who has homework on the trip,” Jensen said.
The Ice feature former Iowa State all-Americans Kaylee Manns and Carly Jenson, as well as former Iowa star Megan Schipper and Drake’s Angela Bys.
There are college graduates from programs at Missouri, San Diego and Wake Forest.
The Iowans will join a field with clubs from Brazil, China, Kenya, Turkey and Switzerland.
Jensen was a four-sport athlete at Underwood. She played volleyball and competed in track and basketball at Grand View.
She’s currently a student assistant coach at Grand View. Her head coach, Tina Carter, encouraged her to try out for the Iowa Ice. A hitter for most of her career, she plays libero for the talent-laden squad.
“I was very nervous, coming from NAIA to playing with Division I athletes,” Jensen said.
The Iowans traveled to Louisville to compete in the Women’s Premier Volleyball League nationals. The Ice shut down Team Florida 25-18, 25-21, 25-17 in the championship.
While receiving their medals and trophy, Jensen and the other players were told off the cuff that they had qualified for the world championships.
The team leaves Sunday for Switzerland. Jensen is trying to pack her suitcase, never having traveled to Europe before.
“I have no idea,” Jensen said. “All I need is my uniform.”
The PVL is a 15-team league supported by USA Volleyball’s 40 regional associations, including the Iowa Volleyball region.
Jensen said she’s thrilled to consider herself of teammate of such standouts. She’s adjusted to playing defense for the first time.
“Playing with these girls is very high on my list of athletic accomplishments right now,” Jensen said. “Once you get into it, you can’t come down.”
The Iowa Ice play Unilever Volei of Brazil and VakifBank Istanbul of Turkey in pool play.
Jensen will return home on Oct. 14. She’ll come home to campus and classrooms on the north side of Des Moines.
Basketball will be her sport this winter. But she’ll likely be found playing a pickup volleyball match on occasion.
“Even coming out of high school, I knew volleyball was probably the sport I wanted to keep around the longest,” Jensen said. “I love it, and I’ll probably always love it.”
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
ALEXIS CONAWAY, MOC-FV (Orange City): The senior smashed 22 kills in Thursday’s victory against Sheldon. Conaway, an Iowa State recruit, also had 19 digs. She’s averaging 4.15 kills a set and hitting .459.
LIBBY RYAN, Mount Vernon: Ryan’s 54-dig performance vs. Western Dubuque of Epworth Thursday is the highest total number of digs in a match this year. She rallied her team in a five-set win, 21-19 in the final set.
NICOLE WILKENS, Fort Madison Holy Trinity: Wilkens, a junior, leads the state with 84 aces this season, an average of 1.29 per set. She’s hitting .400 with 1.77 kills per set. Holy Trinity has a 28-1 record.
KINSEY CALDWELL, Northern Iowa: The setter compiled a career-high 59 assists in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Missouri State. She leads the Missouri Valley Conference and ranks No. 25 nationally in assists with an average of 11.09 per set.
BAILEY WILSON, Wartburg: The middle hitter had 45 kills and eight total blocks to help her team go 5-0 this past week. She hammered 10 kills in two matches and nine more in two others. She’s a West Des Moines Valley graduate.
KENNEDI SIMON, Iowa Central Community College: A freshman middle blocker, Simon ranks second nationally with 2.20 blocks a set. She had three solos and 10 block assists in a 3-2 win over Southeastern Sept. 25.
MATCHES TO WATCH
DRAKE AT NORTHERN IOWA, 7 p.m. Saturday: This Missouri Valley Conference matchup will be played at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls. Northern Iowa (9-5, 2-1 MVC) is coming off a five-set win over Missouri State. Drake (2-14, 0-4) is in its first match against UNI for coach Darrin McBroom.
URBANDALE INVITATIONAL, 8 a.m. Saturday: Seven ranked squads will be in the 16-team field, including programs from northwest and southeast Iowa. Class 1-A Fort Madison Holy Trinity is No. 1. Class 2-A Western Christian of Hull is ranked No. 2. Host Urbandale is fifth in 5-A, while Johnson is No. 3. Fans can get a look at several all-staters; among them are star middle hitters Kaz Brown of Cedar Falls and Holy Trinity’s Mikaela Foecke.