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Ms. Jessica Bartczyszyn

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Volleyball: Bartczyszyn Gets Her Turn to Lead Cajuns Offense

Article courtesy of Garrett Ohlmeyer, special feature for RaginCajuns.com

Sept. 20, 2015

LAFAYETTE – It could loosely be said that Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns starting setter Jessica Bartczyszyn is filling the shoes of former setter, 2014 Louisiana Volleyball Player of the Year Andrea Hole. Head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot might disagree. Why can’t it be a brand new pair of shoes?

“Jess is a completely different person than Andrea,” Mazeitis-Fontenot said. “As good as Andrea was, it’s Jess’ time, and I think she’s earned the respect of her teammates and deserves this chance.”

As much as Bartczyszyn has learned from Hole the past two years, it is now her time to step in and lead the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Her journey did not begin in Cajun country. The Illinois native decided to venture southward after playing high school volleyball at Cary-Grove High School.

Cary-Grove certainly helped her to prepare for playing at the college level. With three trips to the Illinois state championship in high school and one state title, Bartczyszyn knows a thing or two about success.

“One thing that changed my volleyball experience the most would be going to Cary-Grove and being on those teams,” Bartczyszyn said. “Specifically my freshman year when we won state because we weren’t physically the best team, but we all complimented each other very well on the court and we worked hard and for each other.”

Success doesn’t come easy. Aside from talent, a team must have chemistry and leadership. All of which, Bartczyszyn’s state championship team had. The leadership from the older girls on her team rubbed off on her at an early age. The two other setters showed her how to be a leader as a freshman so that she could help lead Cary-Grove after they left.

The teachings seemed successful as Bartczyszyn’s team followed their state championship title with back-to-back appearances in the Illinois State title game.

While Cary-Grove taught her the importance of team chemistry and leadership, her motivation comes from elsewhere. Her father Michael, has been a huge influence in her life, especially when it comes to sports.

“He (her father) played college football and led me in athletics my whole life,” Bartczyszyn mentioned. “One of the things he taught me the best is how to keep my mental game and to be level-headed. He’s one of the people that pushed me the hardest.”

Bartczyszyn has brought her knowledge from Illinois down to Acadiana. But it doesn’t stop there.

Adapting to the speed of NCAA volleyball has been difficult, but learning behind (Andrea) Hole the past two years has helped to elevate her game to the next level. It has helped her not only become a better setter, but has also taught her how to become a leader, on and off the court.

On the court, she may be the new setter for the Ragin’ Cajuns, but off the court she is studying English with a desire to teach.

“I received a redshirt my freshman year, so I’m going to use my fifth year to get my master’s in education…” Bartczyszyn said about majoring in English. “I want to be a high school teacher.”

#GeauxCajuns