When Oak Harbor High School volleyball coach Kerri Molitor was looking for a card to complete a winning hand, she drew Jasmine Ford.
Ford, a senior, now helps anchor a front line that is one of the keys to Oak Harbor’s success this season. She leads the team in blocks, including recording eight in last Monday’s match with Marysville Getchell.
Molitor, Ford and company head into the postseason when the district tournament starts Tuesday, Nov. 12. Who, when and where the Wildcats play has not been determined. Three teams from district advance to the state tournament.
Oak Harbor is currently in second place in the Western Conference with a 11-2 record.
In eighth grade, Ford gave volleyball a try and played for the junior varsity. As a freshman in high school, Ford dropped volleyball to concentrate on her favorite sport, basketball.
Molitor persuaded Ford to give volleyball another try, inviting her to summer camp before her sophomore season.
Ford talked it over with her family and got the OK.
“Mom said, ‘Yes, you should definitely go,” Ford said. “So I agreed and it went from there.”
She encountered a steep learning curve her sophomore season, and then, despite her inexperience, the 6-foot middle blocker earned a starting spot on the varsity as a junior.
Ford, however, broke her foot several matches into the season. She returned for a few late contests but wasn’t 100 percent.
The injury “didn’t set me back too much,” Ford said. “I just needed to get back into the flow of it.”
Getting back into the flow was interrupted, however, by a mental block.
“I was afraid I would break my foot again.”
She didn’t feel comfortable until the middle of the following basketball season.
Her personal goal coming into this volleyball season was to “feel comfortable.” This comfort had nothing to do with her foot; she wants to truly understand the complexities of a sport she has much less experience playing when compared to her teammates and opponents.
Molitor said Ford has “caught up quickly” and “continues to gain confidence in her attacking.”
“She is smart and dedicated,” Molitor said. “As a team, as well as individually, we strive to get better every day.” Ford has taken that motto to heart, Molitor said.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach Jasmine,” Molitor added. “She has been an important part of our team’s successes…I love the support she gives to her team when she is on the court or on the bench.”
Ford, who owns a 3.9 grade point average, would like to attend the University of Washington or the University of Oregon and study biology.
For now, she said, the goal is to place at state.