Jackson doing big things with Virginia Tech volleyball
Even with a cross-country move and jumping into the highest levels of NCAA Division I volleyball, Virginia Tech setter and Douglas High graduate Talyn Jackson hasn’t shown any issues transitioning.
Jackson, who graduated early from Douglas prior to the spring of 2018, just wrapped up her sophomore season with the Hokies and finished as one of the top setters in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
After starting in every match this past season, Jackson ended her year fourth in the ACC in assists with 1,061.
Finding Virginia Tech
Initially, Jackson didn’t think Virginia Tech — in Blacksburg, Va. — was going to be the right fit, but after visiting with her father, Mark, her mindset quickly changed.
“I wasn’t really interested at first,” said Jackson. “It’s in a small town, but it’s a college town and I loved the campus. … I fell in love after I came on a visit and no school after that compared to it.”
The decision to move from Nevada to Virginia has paid off the sophomore, who was selected to the 2019 All-ACC Academic volleyball team at the end of January.
Jackson — who is studying public relations — got a head start joining the Hokies in the spring of 2018 after graduating from Douglas High early.
“I went to Tech early so I had a whole offseason and spring season with the team,” Jackson said. “To have that offseason to click with them and get their sets down … that definitely helped.”
The Gardnerville native saw action in about half of the Hokies’ contests as a freshman, but quickly took over once she was given the permanent starting role as a sophomore.
Virginia Tech kicked off conference play in 2019 with a win over No. 23-ranked Louisville in which Jackson posted 37 assists, six digs and a kill.
The win was the Hokies’ first over a ranked opponent since 2015.
Jackson’s strongest performance on the floor came in Virginia Tech’s regular-season finale where she posted the first triple-double against North Carolina under head coach Jill Wilson with 46 assists, 10 kills and 16 digs.
“The ranked win was good. Beating UNC was good and that was personally my best game,” Jackson said. “I had a triple-double that game, which I think was the only one in the ACC.”
Growing through adaptation
Jackson said her family has had the chance to travel out and see her play a couple of times each year.
The sophomore setter feels that her communication on the court, especially given her position, has become a large strength in her successes as a player.
“I’m very outgoing. So just being around my teammates, I’m very comfortable around them,” said Jackson. “I always ask for feedback so they’re making me better too.”
The Virginia Tech standout added that her on-court talk is in large part to find minor adjustments to her setting placement as well as making sure her teammates are staying positive on the floor.
“I definitely learned that from club and high school,” said Jackson. “Instead of getting in my own head – I know that’s not good ¬ just always being that positive person or looking for my teammates to help them out.”
After an 11-20 campaign this past season, the soon-to-be junior will have another wrinkle to work out as her and the rest of the Hokies adjust to a coaching change.
After Wilson stepped away to become the associate head coach at Ohio State three weeks ago, Jackson and company will now be under the leadership of Marci Byers, who comes to Virginia Tech from Radford University where she was the winningest coach in program history.
Even in the early phases of learning about her new coach, Jackson’s mindset hasn’t changed.
“There is some adjusting, but of course it’s a new coach, that’s going to happen,” said Jackson. “She’s awesome. We are definitely in good hands with her.”
With two years left in her collegiate career, the former NIAA all-state selection has her eyes set on building toward a NCAA tournament berth.
“We obviously want to go up in the ACC rankings and finish top 3 in the conference. That’s our goal for sure.,” Jackson said. “Then, I want to go to the NCAA tournament before I leave.”