Monique Walker, right, is third on the team in kills for South Carolina State while Jessica Hohn is starting for Newman University in Wichita, Kan. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
Eric Butler, CNJ correspondent
Two former Clovis High volleyball players are making a seamless transition from prep ball to collegiate competition as freshman.
Monique Walker is third on the team in kills for South Carolina State while Jessica Hohn is also starting for Newman University in Wichita, Kan.
At 5-foot-9, Walker is undersized for a Division I middle blockers. But, as watchers of Clovis volleyball over the past three years can attest, Walker’s athletic ability is surpassed by few.
“It’s quicker. But I had watched it on TV, so I kind of knew it would be,” Walker said. “Compared to our other middle blocker, I’m pretty small. I’m really learning how to beat the block. Being that I am so small, I have to cut different angles.”
Walker earned the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s rookie-of-the-week last week, the fourth time she has nominated for the honor this season.
“Her athletic ability — well, she’s a godsend to us, I can say that,” said Mary Hill, coach of the 15-3 Bulldogs. “But, first of all, she is a great person. She is a model student-athlete. Her first day on campus, we knew she was going to become something special here and she has become a very popular young lady on campus.
“She has a magnetic personality. I tell her that all the time,” Hill said.
Walker has 123 kills for South Carolina State, which will be in a MEAC roundup tournament this weekend at Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Although her parents, Frank and Necie Walker, still live in Clovis, the Bulldogs’ freshman has plenty of family living nearby.
“They only live about an hour-and-a-half away, so they’re always calling and checking up on me,” Walker said.
Hohn, meanwhile, is closer to home.
Hohn, a 5-10 outside hitter, earned all-tourney honors earlier this season when Newman hosted a tournament.
With a 21-7 record, the Jets’ players are thinking postseason berth, according to Hohn.
“There’s a lot, lot more (games),” Hohn said of the differences between high school and college volleyball. “We’re used to being just about done by now.”
Though her parents, Jeff and Lisa Hohn, are able to make an occasional trip from Clovis to see her — like during a game in Plainview, Texas — Jessica Hohn said a surrogate family feeling at Newman has helped her adjust to her first year away from home.
“The girls on the team who live here, their parents kind of watch out for us, too,” Hohn said. “It’s different. It’s way different, but it’s been fun.”