Jaron Nutter, Contributing Writer
Senior middle blocker Jasmin Sneed never thought she’d be an award-winning college volleyball player on the brink of playing professionally. After dominating throughout her collegiate career and spending her summer training with the U.S Olympic volleyball team, it’s safe to say she was wrong.
The 6-foot senior is undoubtedly one of the stars of the team. Her defensive prowess resulted in being named First Team All-Atlantic 10 and recording multiple school records.
Sneed was a star from the beginning at VCU, after being named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team in 2016. Despite her instant success, Sneed didn’t take volleyball seriously until high school.
“I didn’t start playing volleyball until eighth grade, but I was on the bench the whole time,” Sneed said. “The first time I got on the court was junior year of high school. I fell in love with it in middle school even though I didn’t make the team, but that’s what fueled my fire.”
That fire fueled her from her hometown in San Antonio, Texas, all the way to Richmond. Sneed chose to attend VCU despite receiving interest from New Mexico State and UT-Arlington.
“When I came here on my visit, I really enjoyed the coaches and felt like I could learn a lot. I felt like they could develop me into an amazing player,” Sneed said. “The facilities are nice and clean. I like the way they take care of the athletes here.”
As much as she enjoys VCU’s city campus, Sneed still misses the little things from back home.
“Richmond is way smaller than San Antonio. The food, particularly Mexican food, is a lot better back home. The people here are nice, but I think there’s more Southern hospitality where I’m from,” said Sneed.
Despite the change in scenery, Sneed has felt at home on the court. She set a school single-season record after finishing with 180 blocks her sophomore year. As a junior, she nearly tied her own record. Now a senior, Sneed is motivated to set the bar even higher.
“That was an amazing feeling,” Sneed said. “I think it was more amazing because of how much fun I had that year. That year, everyone on the team had fun and we played together. One of my main goals is to beat the record. I want to make sure I get better every year. I have to leave senior year breaking that record.”
Sneed plans to play professionally after her collegiate career. The senior participated in a tryout for Team USA this summer and studies other professional players.
“It was fun competing with the best talents in the country. I’m doing it again next year and I can’t wait. I was like a lost puppy when I was there, I’ll be better prepared next time. I like to model my game after Rachel Adams. We play the same position and she gets a lot of blocks,” Sneed said.
All in all, Sneed wants to be remembered at VCU for her energy and uplifting her team.
“I definitely want to be remembered as an energetic player, someone who brings energy to the court when we’re down,” Sneed said. “It pumps us up when I get a block and my team goes crazy. I’d say I was coachable, kind, clutch and just a team player in general.”
Sneed will begin her final season at VCU on Aug. 30, when the Rams travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Texas Tech at the Imports Classic.