After undergoing shoulder surgery in her home state of Montana on Tuesday, Cal Poly senior volleyball standout Jennifer Keddy will likely sit out the upcoming season.
The two-time AVCA All-America middle blocker expects to find out how long she’ll be sidelined when the procedure is evaluated today, but first-year Mustangs head coach Sam Crosson coach is all but certain that the reigning Big West Conference MVP will redshirt the upcoming season.
“If she’s able to come back at the start of conference, would we look at it?” Crosson said. “Possibly, but I think for all intents and purposes, she’s done for the season.”
It’s a weighty blow for a program that already saw second-leading hitter Kristina Graven transfer to St. Mary’s in the offseason.
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The 6-foot-4 Keddy led the Big West with 4.06 kills per set last season and ranked third in the conference in hitting percentage (.339) and blocks (1.22). Her 4.85 points per set ranked 22nd in the nation.
Keddy played through the offseason, including a successful tryout with the USA Volleyball A2 program and exhibition matches with Cal Poly. There was a possibility she could attempt to play through pain in her final season of eligibility, but Crosson said Keddy would not have been her dominant self.
Still having the redshirt option available to her, Keddy will likely use it and return for the 2013 season.
“We’d like to have her out there just because she’s really good and will help us,” Crosson said, “but at the same time, as far as her growth and potential to go play internationally or nationally when she’s done with Cal Poly, it would be beneficial to her to get (the surgery) done now.”
Keddy (442 kills) and Graven (371) accounted for 60 percent of the team’s kills in a 12-17 season where the Mustangs were blindsided with the abrupt removal of former head coach Jon Stevenson after just four games last fall.
Cal Poly also lost third-leading hitter Catie Smith (181 kills), who was a senior last season. Without Keddy, senior Molly Pon (141 kills) is the leading returning hitter. No one else had 100-plus kills for the Mustangs last season.
The candidates to replace Keddy at middle blocker include senior Megan McConnell, junior Marianne Gera, sophomore Crystal Dedes and incoming freshman Hannah Schleis.
McConnell, 6-1, is a former Big West all-freshman team honoree who had 93 kills last season. Her 72 blocks were third on the team.
Gera, 6-1, played in 19 matches as a true freshman filling in for then-injured Dominique Olowolafe but stayed mainly on the bench last season, and Dedes, 6-2, played in only five matches last season without recording a kill.
Schleis, 6-1, reportedly fielded scholarship offers from Utah and Georgia Tech. The former Boise Borah (Idaho) High standout averaged 20 kills, 10 digs and five blocks last season, according to the Idaho Statesman, including a 39-kill match.
Though Crosson will have options, the team won’t be able to replace the sheer height and experience of Keddy. Cal Poly opens training camp next week and starts the season with a three-game tournament in Austin, Texas, beginning Aug. 24.