Strawberry looks to make her own name at UConn
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 00:09
Like any Division 1 athlete, Jade Strawberry faces the rigors of college athletics. Balancing school, sports, and a social life are difficult to cope with for any student-athlete.
However, Strawberry faces the added pressure of bearing a famous last name as she begins her freshman campaign with the UConn volleyball team.
As the daughter of four-time World Series champion and eight-time All-Star Darryl Strawberry, Jade, an outside hitter from Tallahassee, Fla., will be looking to create her own legacy as a UConn volleyball player.
Although her freshman season has just begun, Strawberry has already started to display the athletic prowess that comes with being raised by a professional baseball player.
With a 10 kill performance against Hartford to go with her strong opening weekend in the IPFW Invitational, Strawberry has already impressed her new coach.
“Jade had a great weekend,” said UConn volleyball coach Holly Strauss-O’Brien. “She plays a really simple game. She’s really low error. When she sees the open floor, she puts it away.”
Strawberry has also managed to impress her father with her early season efforts, as the former Mets and Yankees outfielder is enjoying watching his daughter play.
“She’s really maturing more and more, and I’m really excited to see her upside,” said the elder Strawberry, the 1983 NL Rookie of the Year. “It’s just her freshman year. It’s just the beginning. Just like my rookie year, she’s getting her feet wet and learning.”
One of the perks of Strawberry attending UConn is the fact that the school’s location gives Darryl Strawberry the ability to watch his daughter play at one of the best schools in the country.
“It’s an incredible school. There’s great tradition and history here at UConn,” said Darryl Strawberry. “It’s exciting to me because it’s really close to New York and I’m always around the city, where I’ve had a lot of great memories myself. I’m really excited for her and this program, just the direction that they’re going in. They’re playing outstanding volleyball.”
Strawberry has grown up with a strong athletic support system, and she looks to live up to her father’s athletic legacy.
“Obviously my dad was a baseball player and I look up to him a lot,” said Strawberry. “It helps me play, because I always want to play up to my full potential, especially for my family.”
Strawberry’s family, which includes four other siblings, have all had the privilege of learning lessons from their superstar father, even if to them, he’s just “dad”.
“I just told all of my kids that confidence is the key,” said Darryl Strawberry. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a part of playing sports, and if you’re able to accept that part of it, you can rise up to the good part of it.”
Strawberry has certainly embraced the idea of confidence, as she has high expectations of her team.
“As a team, of course we want to win a conference championship,” said the freshman. “We want to have a winning season.”
The UConn volleyball team looks to continue their winning ways this weekend as they host Pittsburgh, Northeastern, and Albany in the UConn Classic.