In her first year with the team, Jasmyn Martin gives Gophers volleyball depth off bench

Martin had 27 kills last week en route to being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

Freshman outside hitter Jasmyn Martin waits for Purdue to return the ball at Maturi Pavilion on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Jack Rodgers

Freshman outside hitter Jasmyn Martin waits for Purdue to return the ball at Maturi Pavilion on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Henry Hughes

Freshman outside hitter Jasmyn Martin didn’t always know that she wanted to play volleyball at the college level. In her sophomore year of high school, she faced a choice between basketball and volleyball as her sport of choice.

“I had to make that big decision, and I thought if I stop playing, I’m going to regret it,” she said.

For the Gophers, that decision paid off. Martin has added to the young core of the Minnesota volleyball program, providing both offense with her 93 kills that rank fifth on the team, and defense with 24 digs and 21 blocks.

“It’s a good position to be in when you have some depth [off the bench],” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “It’s nice to be able to use it.”

By speeding through high school and graduating a semester early, Martin was able to join her team with ample time before the start of her first season.

Beginning her collegiate career in January of 2017 meant Martin did not have the most conventional start to university life.

This model of graduating early to join a collegiate team was no foreign concept to the Minnesota volleyball program before Martin arrived.

“I played with [Samantha Seliger-Swenson] in high school and she had done the same thing,” Martin said. “She had got good results from that, so I was like why not do that too?”

Martin was praised for graduating early and jumping into practice with the Gophers volleyball program right away.

“I think it says a lot about her dedication,” said freshman opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy. “Leaving high school early is kind of a big thing, just leaving your friends behind, leaving your life to come start college and train early, so that says a lot about her dedication and focus.”

Martin has appeared in 15 matches this season and 44 sets overall, and on Wednesday night against No. 16 Purdue, had five kills on 25 attempts. This added competition at the Division I level hasn’t hindered her from getting playing time as a freshman.

“I think she’s always been a Division I athlete,” McCutcheon said. “She’s been developing more range as a hitter and that’s been huge for us.”

Both of Martin’s parents were college athletes. Her mother, Tracey, was a basketball player at Moorhead State University. Her father, Tracy, played wide receiver for the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and in the Canadian Football League.

Despite being raised by athletes, Martin never felt pressured to play sports from a young age.

“I think I started [playing sports] so early, so that’s all I knew,” Martin said. “I love them, so pressure or not I’m glad I’m in [volleyball].”

Martin and the Gophers will continue their short homestand at the Maturi Pavilion this week when they face Iowa on Sunday.