By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer
Three years ago, heading into the 2014-15 season, head coach Kayla Mull of the Lady Hilltoppers volleyball program knew she needed a solid recruiting class if they wanted to compete in the Mountain East Conference. Traits like experience, height, quickness, jumping and mental toughness are characteristics Mull and every volleyball coach looks for. For the Hilltoppers, however, intelligence is at the forefront as well. One player in that recruiting class fits into all those categories: Erin Jans.
Jans grew up in Tipp City, Ohio, a small town near Dayton. An area known to produce a solid array of athletes, Jans’ love for the game of volleyball came at a young age.
“I first began my love of volleyball in the 6th grade,” said Jans. “But I have constantly been around the game since I was little.”
After learning and trying to perfect her game, Jans would attend Tippecanoe High School, home of the Red Devils, where she would shine both on the court and in the classroom. She was a four-year varsity starter and later would be captain, first-team all-conference and first-team all-district her senior year. Jans also set the school’s single-season record for blocks in her last year at Tippecanoe High.
Continuing to love the game, Jans knew she wanted to continue her career in college. After releasing a recruiting video online and hearing from multiple schools, Coach Mull from WLU took an interest in her.
“Coach found my recruiting video and brought me in for a visit,” said Jans. “I knew instantly that I belonged on this campus. I absolutely loved it.”
Jans would later commit to West Liberty University and began her collegiate career in 2014. Since joining the Lady Toppers squad, Jans has played in 37 career matches with nine starts. She has totaled 68 kills and 42 blocks, heading into her senior year. Not to mention that she is a part of a Hilltoppers team who earned their fourth straight MEC Tournament bid last fall, before falling to defending national champion Wheeling Jesuit.
“Some of the memories I’ll never forget include beating Fairmont at Fairmont and jamming to 2000’s hits on the van rides,” said Jans. “I’ll cherish those memories for a lifetime.”
Jans is set to graduate in May with a degree in exercise physiology. She hopes to attend physical therapy school following graduation.
Photo credit: Hilltoppersports.com