Former Penguin Val Jeffery to Represent USA at World University Games

Val Jeffery (Photo by Dustin Livesay)
Val Jeffery (Photo by Dustin Livesay)

Former Youngstown State volleyball player Val Jeffery has been selected to represent the United States at the 29th World University Games (Universiade) in Taipei, Taiwan, in August.

Jeffery, a native of Pickerington, Ohio, who played at YSU from 2014-16, is one of two setters who will compete for the USA Team. The Summer Universiade is organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) as an international sporting and cultural festival for university athletes. The event is held every two years in a different city, and 17 sports will be contested in 2017 between Aug. 19-30.

This will be Jeffery's second stint competing at the international level. She played in six matches in Beijing in 2015 as part of a group that traveled with USA Volleyball.

"It's not every day that you get the opportunity to represent your school, let alone your country, on an international level," Jeffery said. "I'm beyond excited to play with some of the top athletes in the US and really showcase what we can do in Taipei. We'll be working directly with the USA Volleyball staff, which has loads of knowledge to give. I'm planning to embrace all of it, have a lot of fun, and really go all out in possibly my last time playing competitive volleyball. It's bittersweet, but what better stage to finish on than the World University Games."

Jeffery's Youngstown State career concluded in 2016 with her earning Honorable Mention All-Horizon League honors and being named YSU's MVP for the third straight year. The 2014 Horizon League Setter of the Year, Jeffery finished her career ranking second in program history in assists per set, fifth in total assists and sixth in attack percentage.

The full USA roster includes Jeffery, Ashley Mariani (Iowa), Margaret Speaks (NC State), Danielle Harbin (Arkansas), Katie Horton (Florida State), Jordan Tucker (Duke), Jazzmine McDonald (Indiana), Imani Wimbush (Gonzaga), Madeline Garda (Bowling Green), Jenelle Jordan (California), Krystal Rivers (Alabama) and Teegan Van Gunst (Georgia Tech).

"I am so excited that Val has the opportunity to represent the USA at the World University Games," YSU head coach Mark Hardaway said. "It is always rewarding to see hard work pay off, and Val has always worked extremely hard to hone her volleyball skills."

"It is such an honor to be able to represent your country in an international event, and we are very proud that Val is getting the chance to do that in Taipei. She has been such a great ambassador for Youngtown State University and our volleyball program. As much as I wish she was competing in a YSU jersey this August, I can't wait to see her in a USA jersey."

Jeffery will train with the team in Los Angeles for two days before leaving for Taipei on Aug. 15. The opening ceremony will be on Aug. 19, and the volleyball competition will start on Aug. 20. Volleyball's final day will be on Aug. 29, and the Universiade will conclude on Aug. 30.

The team will open round-round play in Pool C along with 2015 bronze medalist Japan, Latvia and Thailand.