Rosenthal benefiting from time with US Volleyball team

Redshirt freshman leads MU in blocks and is third in kills

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Rosenthal benefiting from time with US Volleyball team

Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

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Marquette middle hitter Jenna Rosenthal spent this past summer with the U.S. Collegiate National Team. She trained, lived and competed with the most accomplished athletes that collegiate volleyball had to offer.

She also hadn’t played a single point of collegiate volleyball before that time.

“I just sort of kept that on the down low,” Rosenthal said. “I certainly wasn’t going to tell my teammates, but I kept it in the back of my mind.”

Rosenthal, a redshirt freshman from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was one of 36 players selected to the U.S. Collegiate National Team program. More than 200 girls showed up for the tryout in Louisiana, and Rosenthal admitted that she didn’t expect to make the cut.

“I was perfectly content with the fact that I probably wasn’t going to make it,” Rosenthal said. “It was such a great surprise when I got the email…. and at the bottom of the email it said ‘Congratulations, you made the team!”

The first thing that Rosenthal did after receiving the news?

“I had to think a minute and ask, ‘Do I call coach Theis or do I call my mother?’ I ended up calling my mother first,” Rosenthal said with a chuckle.

Rosenthal came to Marquette last year, but head coach Ryan Theis made the decision to redshirt her, which extended her athletic eligibility for a year under the condition that she not play in regulation games. Despite his decision, Theis encouraged Rosenthal to try out for the National team.

“He called Taylor (Louis) and I into his office and asked how we would feel about going to the tryout,” Rosenthal said. “I told him I’d love to.”

Rosenthal began the camp with five days of training at the University of New Orleans. Participants were then split up into three teams, which competed against each other in a round-robin tournament from June 26 to June 29. Rosenthal ended up on CNT Red, which reached the title match before falling to CNT Blue in four sets.

Despite the loss, Coach Theis says that he noticed a stark improvement in Rosenthal’s game this year.

“I think in terms of reading the game, detecting over passes, reading setter tendencies; she got better at those,” Theis said. “Jenna just needed more volume.”

The last Golden Eagle to participate in the USA Volleyball program was setter Elizabeth Koberstein, who graduated in 2013 as perhaps the most accomplished player in Marquette volleyball history. Rosenthal says that Koberstein was a friend and an advocate throughout the process.

“She just reiterated how great the program was and how much fun I was going to have,” Rosenthal said. “She told me, ‘Go have fun, little one!’ She calls me little one even though I’m 6’6”,” while Koberstein stands at a modest 5-foot-10.

These days, “little one” is doing some pretty big things back in the blue and gold. She’s now the starting middle blocker and is averaging a hefty 1.21 blocks per game as well as over two kills per game. In just one year, Rosenthal has gone from a seat on the sidelines to being the second-leading point scorer on a team that could win the BIG EAST.

“I’m going to take my volleyball career as far as it can go,” Rosenthal said.

If her selection to USA Volleyball and her play this season are any indication, her volleyball career could go a long, long way.