Volleyball recruit Jess Jones sees HS career end

6-2 middle blocker Jess Jones of Neuqua Valley, Ill., who became the first recruit to verbally commit to Minnesota for the 2004 season in May, saw her high school career end recently. Jones is ranked #13 in the country by prepvolleyball.com. Last year, the Gophers landed two players in the top ten, when #4 Kelly Bowman of Osseo (MN) High and #10 Meridith Nelson of St. Croix Falls (WI) High inked with the Gophers.

Jones chose Minnesota over Nebraska and Notre Dame after making a visit to Minneapolis in late April. Jones plays for both Neuqua Valley High School and the Sunsetters Volleyball Club in Woodridge, Ill.. She was also named as an alternate to the Junior National team.

Jones had 222 kills with a .333 hitting efficiency as a junior and finished with 115 blocks and was named to her second straight all-conference team.

Unfortunately, she landed awkwardly and partially tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in May during a club match and missed part of the season.

The injury has caused Jones to decide to skip playing basketball, despite being an all-conference choice in hoops and going to the state tournament two of the last three years. She had been advised by Dr. John Hefferon, a former Bulls team physician who performed the operation, to either play high school basketball or club volleyball, but that her knee should not take the stress of both. She also decided to switch volleyball clubs, moving from Sunsetters to training-intensive Sports Performance.

She has suffered a sprained ACL, sprained back and twisted ankle playing basketball last year and decided that not playing would allow herself to get healthy for her first love.

The Wildcats saw their season end with a 2-25, 25-18, 25-20 regional loss at home to Naperville Central.

Jones is hoping to possibly play in the Olympics and professionally overseas after playing for the Gophers.

She will join a talented Gopher squad that is ranked #20 in the country. Minnesota is hoping to win its second consecutive Big Ten title and return to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. They have won 10 straight games going into this weekend.

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