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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Al McGuire Center ‘home’ to professional volleyball alum Jenna Rosenthal

Former+Marquette+middle+blocker+Jenna+Rosenthal+went+professional+overseas+after+graduating.+Now%2C+she+is+on+the+Columbus+Fury+in+the+newly-formed+Pro+Volleyball+Federation.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics.%29
Former Marquette middle blocker Jenna Rosenthal went professional overseas after graduating. Now, she is on the Columbus Fury in the newly-formed Pro Volleyball Federation. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Let’s start with the list, just so you get the picture.

Four continents: North America, South America, Asia and Europe.

14+ countries: The United States, Austria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Peru, Poland, Slovenia, Turkey and more.

Hundreds of cities and towns. Thousands of different gyms, millions of different courts.

These are just some of the places former Marquette middle blocker Jenna Rosenthal has played volleyball.

But they were just stops on the road.

“The Al McGuire Center is really my home,” Rosenthal said. 

The Al is where Rosenthal practiced when she first got to campus in 2014 ahead of her first year at Marquette. It’s where the Golden Eagles hosted the 2018 NCAA Tournament during her senior season. Where she won a game to send Marquette to its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance. And where she’s gone to prepare for her professional seasons after graduating.

“When you think about it, I’ve been training at the Al McGuire Center for 10 years,” Rosenthal said. “It still feels like the continuation of a story that didn’t necessarily have to end at graduation, which is really cool.”

Upon graduating Rosenthal started her overseas career. But after just three seasons, she decided to take a volleyball hiatus and work an engineering desk job — utilizing her college degree. That only lasted nine months until she got a call to play in a five-week showcase tournament called Athletes Unlimited.

After that, Rosenthal was back.

“I knew I still had the talent to continue to compete,” she said. “I missed volleyball, of course. A little bit of time off changes perspective. You come back invigorated.”

Now, Rosenthal is a trailblazer for women’s volleyball players everywhere.

She plays for the Columbus Fury, one of the seven charter members of the Pro Volleyball Federation, the newest United States women’s professional indoor volleyball league which started in January 2024.

“Being able to help be one of the pioneering women in the sports revolution,” Rosenthal said, “there’s nothing else like it.”

In between her different professional stops, Rosenthal — while wearing her “pioneering” hat — made trips to Marquette and see her former head coach Ryan Theis and the current volleyball team.

“She’ll come to a game. Or the NCAA allows alumni to practice on an occasional basis, so she’s come back in and practiced with us,” Theis, who just finished coaching his 10th season with the Golden Eagles, said. “She’s always positive in that environment and encouraging of others.”

Rosenthal would pop in, share her experiences and give advice to the players she once was.

“After all of my former teammates graduated and moved through the program, getting a chance to know all of the girls again, that’s really special and makes me feel connected again,” she said.

For Rosenthal, visiting the Al is a “no-brainer.”

“Because Marquette made me so happy, but I really wanted others to also be able to have that same experience and that same feeling,” Rosenthal said. “And obviously, from the selfish side, when I need to tune up and get ready to play again myself, bopping around the old gym.”

Visiting 14+ countries in three years has given her perspective. It’s knowledge from those global tours that she passes off to the younger generation.

“Little things that you pick up here and there from playing the game at a high level for as long as I have now,” Rosenthal said. “And if I can tell someone something that I learned at 25. I’m like, ‘Man, I wish I would have known this when I was a sophomore.’

“If I can just add that little bit and maybe help someone else find a shortcut. For all the hard-learned lessons, if I can make someone else’s path shorter, help pave the way.”

She is only 27 years old, but compared to the rest of her Columbus team and the entire Pro Volleyball Federation, she is a seasoned veteran.

“She’s past the dramatic things that a 21 or 22-year-old might tend to [look at]; ‘This is a super dramatic thing,’ and she’s just able to be a professional, right? I think she can look at some of the younger players in the league and go this is what we do,” Theis said.

“I’m assuming she’s really good with the 22, 23-year-olds in that league of just helping them understand that.”

Rosenthal said she has always characterized herself as someone who leads by example.

“Leadership comes in all forms,” she said, “and that you never know when your experiences and lessons learned can help someone else along their journey.”

Rosenthal still lives full-time in Milwaukee. She grew up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and has no plans to leave.

“I always thought, with all my travels and things, that Milwaukee is home base, and that extends to Marquette,” Rosenthal said. “You make a home here, and you go off and you set the world on fire and you can always come back home.”

Back home to the Al.

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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