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Jaelyn Keene to continue Volleyball career at UAB

Jaelyn Keene to continue Volleyball career at UAB

Redbird Senior Jaelyn Keene signed her letter of intent to play beach volleyball during a press conference last week. (Photo Courtesy Shelby Hild/Redbird Athletics)

NORMAL –Illinois State University Senior Jaelyn Keene has officially signed to play beach volleyball for the University of Alabama at Birmingham this upcoming school year.

After spending the past four seasons playing middle blocker for the Redbirds, Keene signed her letter of intent at Redbird Arena to play for the Blazers with her final year of eligibility while studying to get her Masters in Accounting.

Throughout her Senior season, Keene developed into a skilled player that had success both on and off the court. Keene tallied a career high 30 kills against Southern Illinois in 2017, finishing with a total of 1,567 kills in her four seasons. She also appeared in every match that she competed in for the Redbirds, competing in 492 total sets.

Off the court, Keene was named a top-10 finalist for the Senior Class Award in addition to being named on an Academia All-American with a 3.97 GPA. She has been recognized for her efforts at the conference level and the regional level.

Keene says that she applied late in the process because most girls who want to play beach graduate early and are already enrolled in grad school. However, a member of the volleyball coaching staff has a contact with the assistant coach at UAB, and from there, Keene was able to get in touch with their head coach.

Jaelyn has been discussing the possibility of playing professional volleyball since her sophomore year, and this will be her first time playing Beach Volleyball. With a smaller court and a lower net, she thinks she’s ready to embrace the challenge.

“It’s scary to me but it’s also exciting,” said Keene. “It’s something I’ve never done before and I’m just looking forward to learning all those new skills and working with one other teammate and competing that way instead of having six girls.”

Jaelyn’s coaches told her that while she will be a new competitor this upcoming school year, they believe that if she puts in the hard work like she’s done at ISU, she will be able to see the transfer of it.

Although Jaelyn will not finish her career as a redbird, according to her Instagram, she will always be a “Redbird For Life.”

Anthony Ferretti Contributed to this story

Anthony Ferretti

April 20th, 2018

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