The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

October 10, 2006

Dedication pays off for JWP setter

Preston holds career, single-season records in ace serves, assists.

By Brian Ojanpa — It wasn’t meant as a trick question, but Andrea Preston’s answer says a lot about how she views the me/we aspect of team sports.

“What was your best game?” she was asked.

Athletes invariably take that to mean their best game as an individual.

But Preston took a different tack.

“It was a subsection game against Faribault B.A.,” the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton volleyball player said. “They beat us.”

Nary a word about how she performed personally; only accolades for her team’s strong play that day — in a loss, no less.

Truth is, Preston would have plenty of individual stats to expound upon, if that were her style.

As the most accomplished volleyball player in JWP history, the 5-foot-6 senior setter is building upon her four school records with each outing.

Preston holds single-season marks for set assists and ace serves, and career records for assists and ace serves.

All of which doesn’t occur without the requisite sweat equity. In Preston’s case, that’s meant a virtual year-round volleyball regimen she began in sixth grade.

“We’d always go to Minnesota State volleyball games when I was little,” she said. She tried the sport and became hooked.

She began playing in MSU’s Junior Olympic program, an activity that continues to require an eight-month commitment.

This was in addition to playing high school basketball and softball (she batted .500 last season from the cleanup spot).

Burnout? Nada.

“I’ve always liked playing volleyball — no matter what,” she said.

From a parenting standpoint, her mother Sheila says the ball has always been in her daughter’s court.

“She always said that until it affects her academics, she’d keep tackling it,” her mother said. “She’s the only one who can determine that, so we’ve left that up to her.”

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