Being a student athlete is a “beast of its own,” but senior Gold Nugget volleyball player Jodi Hill is handling that beast. A political science major from Prarieville, La., Hill— through 13 matches in the 2015 season—is averaging 2.44 points per set; 1.80 kills per set; .04 assists per set; .31 aces per set; .78 digs per set; .33 bocks per set; and a .267 hitting percentage.She has started 39 matches, and helped her team to 20-6 overall season in 2014 and 14-0 Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference.

Jodi Hill


“The energy on the court it can really make or break your team. Are you going to win or are you going to lose?” said Hill. “A big part of volleyball is what we say all the time—communication, communication,communication.”Part of her success is the communication within the team. They’re always telling each other about open spots on the court and getting each other through the next couple of plays. “We yell and scream and get excited when we do something good. It just kind of keeps you motivated and reminds you to have fun when you’re playing because it can get kind of serious when you play,” said Hill. Prior to her volleyball career, Hill played basketball. However, her freshman year at Dutchtown High School, she tried out for volleyball and made the team. She wasn’t even really sure she wanted to play, but she did. “I had a lot of sun and made a lot of friends that season, so I continued to play and learn more about the game and better. And then I ended up at Xavier,” Hill said.

IMG_0079Playing volleyball for Xavier wasn’t even in Hill’s plans. Before she became “Jodi Hill with the kill,” she was just Jodi Hill, a political science major who planned on attending Xavier. “It’s a liberal arts school, and it’s small, so I figured I would get a diverse education, not only in my major but in other classes in different fields that would help me become a better professional and better leader in my field,” she said. It also helped that she found out how small her major was and how “tight-knit” the political science department was. Coming from her high school, where everybody went to LSU, it was important to Hill to have a smaller school. Xavier was perfect for her—it was small, she loved New Orleans, and even though she didn’t know it at the time, she wanted the “HBCU environment.”

It didn’t hurt that she received academic scholarships and athletic funding. As a senior, Hill balances athletics and academics. Being a student-athlete means maintaining the GPA requirements and professional environments like research and internships. The grind doesn’t stop with just athletics or academics. Hill has had semesters where she had to balance internships, jobs, schools, and volleyball. Not only that but she—and other team members also—are trying to be more involved on campus with other organizations.

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“I’m the president of the pre-law chapter here at Xavier, member of Public Policy Club, and a social entrepreneurship club,” said Hill. Being a student-athlete has taught Hill that “you might not sleep sometimes,” but in the end,
it pays off. “It’s hectic, it’s fun, sometimes it’s a little stressful, but it’s made me stronger. I feel like I can pretty much do anything now after graduating because I can balance a lot of things,” Hill said. Throughout her four years as an athlete at XULA, Hill has managed to maintain her grades, stay a strong athlete, and carve out a future for herself.




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