Female Illini of the Year: Jordyn Poulter

Female Illini of the Year: Jordyn Poulter

Why she's our Female Athlete of the Year: The 20-year-old Colorado native had a junior season to remember, registering multiple All-American honors and an All-Big Ten selection after compiling 1,357 assists, 306 digs and 116 blocks in helping the Illini reach the Sweet 16 for the 17th time in program history.

How would you describe the last year?

To sum it up, it was just a lot of fun. I think growing individually and as a group is a fun challenge to take on at the beginning of a season. To be able to do that and finish where we did kind of knowing what we started with was a lot of fun.

Is there a moment that stood out from this past season?

I think it's common for a lot of moments that stand out to be moments that aren't actually on the volleyball court, but I think going and beating Washington on their home floor will be something I won't forget. Then going into the regional round of the NCAA tournament to play Michigan State and being neck and neck with them all the way to the end, it wasn't something you go home with and think you could have given more. Our run in the tournament is something I will take with me when I think about last year.

What's the outlook for next season?

Hopefully we have the same sort of mentality coming into the gym every day wanting to be good that day or taking everything one match at a time. I think that really helped us get better and grow as players and also just not allow the season to get ahead of us. When we had nine freshmen, you can't really replicate the emotions or the feelings of playing in matches where it's do or die. Being able to pull from last year and having that experience is something I'm looking forward to building upon this coming season.

What's been your experience training with the national team this summer?

I think experience anywhere is invaluable. To be able to have that experience in the national team gym is something that you never take for granted. You're constantly learning something new from girls you've played against before or played with on U.S. teams when I was younger — to see how everyone has kind of evolved as people and players and to be able to get experience with different styles of volleyball and different techniques.

Do you have a favorite place on campus or in C-U that makes being at Illinois special?

I spend a lot of time at (Caffe) Paradiso, the coffee shop, whether that's meeting with coaches or teammates or friends or going and doing homework there, drinking a nice cappuccino. It's been something I've really taken a liking to.

Past N-G Female Illini of the Year:

YEAR — COACH, SPORT

2017 — Nicole Evans, softball

2016 — Jocelynn Birks, volleyball

2015 — Stephanie Richartz, track and field

2014 — Jannelle Flaws, soccer

2013 — Ashley Spencer, track and field

2012 — Vanessa DiBernardo, soccer

2011 — Vanessa DiBernardo, soccer

2010 — Angela Bizzarri, cross-country/track and field

2009 — Angela Bizzarri, cross-country/track and field

2008 — Angelena Mexicano, softball

2007 — Yvonne Mensah, track and field

2006 — Jenna Hall, softball

2005 — Tara Hurless, soccer

2004 — Lisa Argabright, volleyball

2003 — Perdita Felicien, track and field