Feature: Jenna Wenaas off to a hot sophomore start

The Texas-born player continues to impress in her second season for the No. 12 Maroon & Gold.


Brad Rempel- Gopher Athletics

Sophomore Jenna Wenaas spikes the ball in a match against Texas at Maturi Pavillion in Minneapolis, Minn. on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021

by AJ Condon

Sophomore Jenna Wenaas has been an important part of this Gophers team as they approach the midway mark of the season. No. 12 Minnesota sits at 10-5 and returned back to the Pav after two straight away weekends.

“I think it’s so much more fun than last year with it being empty. [The crowd] is cheering for us, whether we do good or bad. They give us a lot of energy and I think it just makes it a lot more fun,” Wenaas said of having fans back in the Pav.

Wenaas and the Gophers have given fans plenty to cheer for thus far. She is second on the team in kills with 177 to go along with 10 service aces which puts her at fourth on the team.

The breakout season continues to showcase what type of player Wenaas is, but she gives credit to her team and coaches.

“My team has definitely helped me a lot. They’ve been super supportive and when I have my bad days, they’re there for me,” Wenaas said. “The coaching staff as well, they’ve been super helpful and helped me grow a lot in a short amount of time.”

The Gophers have had their rough games throughout the season, one of them being against Wisconsin. That’s one game that Wenaas has in mind when she looks forward to her most anticipated games for the rest of the season.

Late in November, No. 3 Wisconsin will travel to Minnesota to close out its season series and Wenaas is looking forward to a rematch against one of the top teams in the nation after being swept in its first matchup. Another game that sticks out to her is at the end of October against No. 9 Nebraska.

Head coach Hugh McCutcheon has been very impressed with Wenaas’ performances this season, but isn’t surprised by the emergence.

“It’s not a surprise, she’s a very good volleyball player and it’s just great to see her out there competing and doing the things we know she’s capable of doing. A great year, but she’s a great player,” McCutcheon said.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, Wenaas and the Gophers have some goals they want to achieve.

“We want to win the Big [Ten], and go far in the tournament, but I think in order to do those things, we have to do the things that we know how to do consistently. We’ve talked about working towards daily goals and if we can do these daily goals then the Big Ten and the tournament goals will come on it’s own,” Wenaas said.