SHORT GAP - Frankfort's Jordan Irving discovered at a very young age that volleyball was the sport for her. Not because she watched Olympic coverage of the sport on TV and fell in love, but rather because she's been surrounded by volleyball her entire life. The daughter of volleyball players, mother Tracey and father John, Irving was exposed to volleyball first-hand from an early age.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - Frankfort’s Jordan Irving discovered at a very young age that volleyball was the sport for her. Not because she watched Olympic coverage of the sport on TV and fell in love, but rather because she’s been surrounded by volleyball her entire life. The daughter of volleyball players, mother Tracey and father John, Irving was exposed to volleyball first-hand from an early age.
“I cannot remember a time that I wasn't playing volleyball. My parents both play and practically raised me on the sand courts at Rocky Gap and the Shrine Club. I have always known deep down that volleyball was the sport for me, but when I got my very first "kill" was the moment I realized that I wanted to play volleyball for the rest of my life,” Irving explained.
On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Irving took a step towards guaranteeing the continuation of her volleyball playing days. Surrounded by her parents, Frankfort volleyball coach Brooke Alkire-Higson, and principal Joe Riley, Irving signed to further her academic and athletic careers at Alderson Broaddus University.
“I chose Alderson Broaddus because as soon as I visited there, I fell in love with the campus, the people and Coach Stoner. The school offers so many things that other schools do not. Coach Stoner is the main reason I chose AB. She was so positive, helpful and just seems like such a great coach. I really wanted to play for her,” Irving said of her college choice.
Speaking of coaches, Irving is quick to compliment her coaches at Frankfort for the role they’ve played in developing her as a player. As Irving explains, “Coach Brooke and Coach Slider both helped prepare me for college volleyball. They made me work hard and showed me that not everything was going to be easy. They made me see that I would have to work nonstop to get to play at the next level.”
Irving capped off her three-year career as a Frankfort volleyball varsity starter with a senior campaign that included 320 kills, a .320 hitting percentage and 70 blocks. She helped lead the Falcons to a successful 29-10-1 season that saw them win both the PVC and AMAC league championships along with the Fort Hill Tournament. For her outstanding contributions, Irving earned First-Team AA All-State honors, was named the AMAC Player of the Year, and to the All-PVC Team.
According to Frankfort coach Brooke Alkire-Higson, “Jordan is a three-year varsity starter and has played such an important part in our success we have had here at FHS the past few years. Her impressive hitting percentage was just a piece of her talents. Jordan’s blocking improved tremendously and that’s the key that was a game changer for us.”
Irving’s coach is quick to compliment not just Jordan Irving the player, but also Jordan Irving the person, “Jordan to me is quite humble. I still don’t know if she realizes how good she really is. You can tell her 100 times but she still will only focus on what she can do to be better. She’s a coachable kid that would do anything I asked of her at any time. She’s a smart kid and I’m truly going to miss her on and off the court.”
Irving’s success is not just happenstance, it’s taken years of hard work on and off the court, and not just during the season. Irving describes her training regiment, “During the regular high school season, coach had us in the weight room all summer and all fall and we practiced every day we didn’t have a match. In the off season, I play travel volleyball for WVYVC and I play in a co-ed volleyball league as well. Whenever I am not on the court, I try to get to the gym as much as possible and my parents make sure I am eating healthy.”
In addition to her own hard work and dedication, Irving is quick to credit Frankfort High School for preparing her academically and athletically for her time ahead at Alderson Broaddus. According to Irving, “Frankfort has prepared me for AB by providing some of the most amazing teachers a student could ask for. The teachers here have gone above and beyond, in and out of the classroom, to provide me with the best education. I cannot thank the staff at Frankfort and my coaches enough for everything they have done for me.”
Irving has greatly enjoyed time spent with teammates during her playing time at Frankfort, which, Irving insists, has “Given me so many memories. From accidentally ordering seven pizzas at the Virginia Beach Tournament to our trips to the state tournament, there have been so many fun times. My favorite memories were made on the bus rides, though. The team would sing and laugh and even cry, but it was always a good time whether we won or lost. I would give anything for just one more bus ride with my team.”
It’s been a long journey from toddling along the sand courts with her parents as a youngster, to all the work and time spent training and playing in her high school career. Along the way, Irving has been undergirded with support, at home and at school.
According to Irving, “My biggest supporters are my parents and Coach Brooke. My mom and dad have rarely missed a volleyball match or tournament. They have always pushed me to do my best and work hard. Coach Brooke has also been amazing! My extended family and also the Frankfort community have also made me feel so loved. I couldn’t have made it this far without any of them.”
Jordan Irving has certainly cemented her mark on the volleyball program at Frankfort High School. She has enjoyed great success on the court and in the classroom as well. Irving will study elementary education at Alderson Broaddus. No doubt she will invest equal amounts of time and energy into her chosen career. In doing so, Jordan Irving will continue to inspire others as she’s been inspired herself.