Polar Bear of the Week: Jenna Robbins ’23
November 3, 2022
Women’s volleyball outside hitter Jenna Robbins ’23 is leading the team in kills and total points after earning eight kills and seven service aces last Friday in a match against Johnson & Wales University (18–11). On Saturday, she added five service aces during a match against Tufts University (18–5; 9–1 NESCAC). She is currently preparing for the NESCAC tournament, which will take place this weekend at Wesleyan University.
Robbins believes this year’s tournament feels different from past seasons due to the team’s current fifth-seed ranking.
“We’re the underdog going into the tournament, which we’ve never been—we’re normally the top seed, and I love being the underdog. It’s a lot of fun. You get to shock and surprise teams. It’s exciting,” Robbins said.
As Robbins’ collegiate volleyball career approaches its end, she fondly recalls why she started playing in the fourth grade.
“I wanted to play because this girl who used to babysit me, who I really looked up to at the time, played volleyball and I was like, ‘she’s so cool. I want to do that.’ I begged my parents to sign me up and went from there and have never played different sports,” Robbins said.
While Robbins played middle hitter when she was in middle school, she has primarily stuck to her current position as an outside hitter. Throughout her volleyball career, her dad has been one of her biggest supporters. She is grateful for all of the time he has dedicated to helping her practice.
“He would be outside with me at night serving balls at me. He just always wanted me to achieve on the court,” Robbins said.
Her parents were the motivating factor behind her initial interest in NESCAC schools when she started the college selection process. Bowdoin was one of the last schools Robbins and her parents visited. Before arriving on campus, Robbins was skeptical about Bowdoin’s location.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m gonna go to school in Maine.’ I got here and absolutely loved it,” Robbins said. “I loved the school first, and volleyball was a nice addition.”
Robbins has stayed committed to the sport primarily because of its speed.
“I think I’ve stuck with it because it’s really fast paced. I like the excitement of something happening at every point,” Robbins said.
Robbins’ teammates are her favorite part of the volleyball program at Bowdoin. She loves the fun pre-game traditions they have, especially the locker room dance parties and the short games like charades or rhythm games.
“There’s a lot of traditions that we do before games, and they’re just really fun. I like all those little moments and details that no one else but our team sees.… They are really special,” Robbins said.
Robbins loves the spirit that the team brings to each event and match. She thinks the team’s collective energy is the factor that propels it forward.
“When we bring that energy, I feel like we’re unstoppable,” Robbins said.
Robbins and her teammates use pregame meals to let loose and shake off nerves. She also has techniques to get rid of pre-game anxiety, like trying to visualize positive outcomes.
Throughout the rest of the season, she hopes to maintain a good mindset and have fun with her teammates. Robbins thinks these goals will motivate her to play at her best.
“I really want to work on staying positive and just having a lot of fun… There’s little time left, and even if we lose, I want to lose having fun and not go out frustrated or with any regrets. [I want to] play with no fear,” Robbins said.
The volleyball team (13–9; 6–4 NESCAC) will play fourth-seeded Amherst College (13–6; 7–3 NESCAC) in the NESCAC quarterfinals tonight at Wesleyan. The Polar Bears lost to Amherst 25–14, 25–21, 25–18 earlier this season.
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