She grew up in an athletic family working toward her dream of playing volleyball at a Div. I university after graduating with a notable volleyball career at Georgetown High in 2012.
Jennie Loerch, the 5 foot 9 inch sophomore outside hitter fulfilled her dream this year when ACU moved up to Div. I this year and began competition in the Southland Conference, a conference known to have a few notable volleyball teams.
On Sept. 10 the ACU volleyball team had an opportunity to rematch Texas Tech and send a message to all Div. I programs in the state. Loerch realized her dream came true when over 1,300 ACU students dressed in purple filled the seats of Moody Coliseum to support her and the team against the Red Raiders.
After warming up, Loerch smiled in amazement at how this crowd and her play would help them win the bout.
“The whole time I did not really look around during warm-ups, but then during the national anthem I glanced around and saw how many people were in the stands,” Loerch said. “I’ve never really played in an atmosphere like that, so it really fueled the fire for our team, even before the first serve.”
The atmosphere was indescribable for head coach Kellen Mock and her team.
“What makes this win so much sweeter is the support we had from Moody Coliseum,” Mock said. “The cheering and support never stopped; from start to finish the crowd was into the game encouraging our girls throughout all the diversity that comes with seeking revenge on a good Texas Tech team.”
Loerch and the three other sophomores who started last year as freshman started to mesh well with each other this season.
“Everyone on the team has a different mindset going into the season this year to establish ourselves as a top Div. I team,” Loerch said. “My teammates have brought a whole other level of intensity, leadership and discipline; and it is beginning to pay off.”
Loerch came to ACU with another teammate from Georgetown High, Haley Rhoads, and said she never saw herself coming to ACU because she wanted to play Div. I volleyball, which was not available at ACU when she was recruited. However, her father told her it would be a good experience for her to visit and get a feel for ACU’s volleyball program.
“I immediately loved it, the school, my team and just the atmosphere at ACU,” Loerch said.
The team played well on all cylinders of the game blowing out Tech 25-11 in the first set, while Loerch led the team with 16 kills and dug 14 blistering shots from Tech’s offensive frontline.
Loerch played for a club team called Austin Performance, which is known for competing well. She knows a number of players around the state and the team’s they play on, but she looks forward to playing an old high school district rival Amanda Rister, defensive specialist for Stephen F. Austin University, at libero.
“We’ve never really talked to each other, but it’s kind of like that we both know who each other are because we were rivals all four years of high school,” Loerch said.
Off the court Jennie is easy going, not easily stressed and laid back, off the court reveals a different side to her. She hates losing more than she loves winning, so her competitive drive is visually evident on the court.
“I always play to my full potential and I want my team to play to their full potential as well, so I’d say I’m pretty intense and competitive, but encouraging on the court as well,” Loerch said.
Loerch has always been confident in her ability to play volleyball, but she understands the importance of working and communicating as a team in order to win games. With the territory of being an outside hitter comes the responsibility of leading and calling different shots while the ball is in play. It is a tough position to play, but Loerch thrives on the pressure the position holds.
The team had a conversation after the first few games this season to point out the strengths each player adds to the team. Her teammates expressed their opinion of Jennie as a player who is steady, level-headed, dependable and consistent.
Loerch said she considers her team to be a group of girls who will forever remain by her side.
“One of our team goals is to play with joy, and I’ve never seen so much love for each other on a team,” Loerch said. “They are so encouraging, and they give me confidence while building bonds and respect for each other; I just love my teammates.”