How Brooke Adams has set up Rowan Volleyball for success

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Brooke Adams sets up the ball. Adams leads the team in assists. Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

Sophomore setter of the Profs Brooke Adams always knew that Rowan would be her home. From playing volleyball at a young age and her father having a huge impact on her career, she wanted to take volleyball a step further and play at a collegiate level.

“My dad used to play volleyball when he was in high school and college, and I have a sister, and he always wanted one of us to play volleyball. So he started both of us out when you could play at like seven years old, and it never stuck with my sister but it stuck with me,” Adams said. “And he was my first coach, and I lived in North Carolina, then I moved to Pennsylvania and got into more competitive club volleyball and I’ve never looked back.” 

After establishing a connection with head coach Deana Jespersen early in her high school career, Adams settled into Glassboro and has made an impact ever since. 

“How I found Rowan was also funny because my dad used to play with Coach Jespersen before I was born,” Adams said. “So he was like, ‘you should just give this coach an email’ and so I did, and I fell in love with the campus and the team and decided to come here.”

Throughout the recruiting process Coach Jesperen was excited with what she saw from Adams. 

“So I had gotten to work with her pretty early on as a high school student. I was pretty excited about the way she was able to locate the ball even back then, she located great and was consistent, she was easily coachable,” Coach Jespersen said. “So over the next couple of years [I] stayed in touch with her, followed her around and watched her play a lot of volleyball and developed a relationship with her. So by the time she had gotten to Rowan, she and I had already established a significant relationship which was awesome.” 

As a freshman, Adams knew she would get some playing time, but she became the starting setter and joined a squad that would win the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship and gets a berth in the NCAA tournament. 

“It was definitely scary,” Adams said. “Coming in there was a setter who graduated, so I knew I would get some playing time. Right in preseason I came in hard, competing and I was scared, it’s very scary coming in the first match.”

Coach Jespersen adds on to the impact she made during her first season.

“I think she’s done a great job as a freshman sliding into that role and being on a championship team,” Coach Jespersen said. “Her diligence and her desire to learn and her desire to get it right certainly made it easy.” 

During her rookie campaign, Adams finished with 1,189 assists, 9.83 assists per set, 64 service aces and 45 kills, with a career-high of 64 assists. 

She is continuing to play at an elite level this season, where Coach Jespersen says she has seen some improvements as well. 

“I’ve seen such a growth from her as a sophomore,” Coach Jespersen said. “She’s working differently and she’s getting better, it’s interesting to see her get better at other aspects of her game. She’s speeding up her sets, she’s putting more pace on the ball as she’s running our offense, she’s playing better defense and she’s stepping up more as a leader.”

A key factor in Adam’s success on the court is her ability to set all of the different hitters on the floor for the Profs. Adams knows the importance of perfecting her craft and adapting to all of the arms on the roster. 

“Each hitter in each position needs something different. Nat [Natalie Ogden] needs faster sets because she’s shorter, she can’t jump as high as Bri [Brianna Newson] can,” Adams said. “Bri can be set anywhere, she can jump over the block, and Jena’s [Kaul] very similar to Bri she jumps really high.”

Coach Jespersen knows the presence that Adams has when she’s out on the court. 

“She knows what all of our different hitters need, which is awesome. She knows what type of ball to put up to what type of person and does it very consistently which is nice,” Coach Jespersen said. “She knows if she’s out of system who she can go to and what type of ball they need. Her job as a setter is to constantly put up a hittable ball, and she does that over and over and over again, which is why our hitters are able to do the work that they are able to do.”

With all of the accomplishments that Adams has amassed, she has reached the 2,000 assist mark as only a sophomore. Adams is grateful for her accomplishments but is hungry for more.

“It means a lot, when I was in high school I ended 20 assists shy of 2,000 so my goal always going into college was to get 2,000,” Adams said. “I did not expect it to happen this fast, even last year I had like 1,200 assists in the season and I was like ‘that was crazy’ it shocked me. But getting it this fast is really crazy, but now I’m going for the record, it means a lot.”

So far this season Adams has 943 assists, to put her career total at 2132, she also has 10.03 assists per set, 27 service aces, 29 kills and 176 digs. 

With the accolades that Adams has grabbed, it would not be possible without the success and the elite play of her teammates around her.

“The 2,000 assists is a huge number, for where she is that’s awesome. It’s also a huge tribute to the type of hitters that she has on the team we have. Those numbers don’t happen unless she has great passers and hitters as well,” Coach Jespersen said. “It’s such a huge accomplishment because it is showing that she is putting up a ball that is located over and over again in a great spot for her hitters to get their kills off of.” 

“These are the best volleyball players I’ve ever played with hands down in my life,” Adams added. “Everyone can do everything, even the people who don’t get playing time all the time, they can step in. It’s insane to be surrounded by this many phenomenal players.”

With all of the strengths to her game, Coach Jespersen says that her ability to locate the ball puts her above the rest. 

“Her biggest strength is her ability to locate a ball over and over again. It’s funny because if you’re sitting in the stands, people don’t know that. I think people think setting is easy, and it’s really hard to put that ball, float that ball in the same spot over and over again depending where you are on the court. And Brooke [Adams] does that seamlessly, she has a knack for putting that ball where in the zone that ball needs to be put, over and over again for all of those hitters,” Coach Jespersen said. “It’s about their consistency and their ability to locate that ball over and over again. That is definitely by far her greatest strength because she does it better than anyone.”

Rowan will look to Adams to lead them in the NJAC Championship Tournament where they will try to grab back-to-back titles. 

Adams and the Profs will look to continue to remain undefeated in the conference as they are taking on Montclair State in the semifinals of the NJAC finals here in Glassboro on Thursday. 

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