By Sean Savage
Out of 107 Division III volleyball teams, Springfield College is ranked No. 5 overall. One member of the Pride, senior Jarrett Anderson, has played a pivotal role in the team’s success in recent seasons.
The 6-foot-5 powerhouse has been nothing short of spectacular for the Pride. Springfield College has had 17 Academic All-Americans since 1971. Anderson has already been named first team Academic All-American twice – and is on track for a third recognition this year.
Along with his 3.9 GPA, Anderson also was named National Player of the Year in 2022, another demonstration of the one-of-a-kind player he is.
“It is very gratifying to receive the type of recognition that I have received,” Anderson said. “I think it is a testament to my work ethic and drive, but I am also very thankful for the coaches and teammates I have had during my time here at Springfield that has pushed me towards my potential.”
Along with his list of accolades, Anderson has also acclimated to becoming a leader very well – as the 2023 season took a slight unexpected turn.
The Pride are starting five underclassmen with no collegiate experience. Anderson is the lone senior on the team: one other senior suffered a season-ending injury, while another could not play due to ineligibility.
“Anderson has been phenomenal this year,” head coach Charlie Sullivan said. “He has been forced into the fast lane, and has been much more vocal than he has in the past.”
Taking a trip down memory lane, Sullivan knew the potential Anderson had as a mere freshman on the team, even during the recruiting process back in high school.
“In high school, we noticed how well we mixed with our group, not to mention just how hard he could hit the ball,” Sullivan said.
Anderson, who grew up in Largo, Fla., made the trip to Springfield after a few meetings with coaches. He could not be happier with his decision.
“I can ultimately say that Springfield College was a great choice for me, giving me the opportunity to compete in a high-level athletics environment and further my education within their well-known Applied Exercise Science program,” Anderson said.
Additionally, Anderson was surrounded by people who helped him adjust to a new environment and team.
“As a freshman, I had the benefit of being surrounded by many upperclassmen who did a great job representing our program, leading by example, and guiding our team towards the culture we look to epitomize,” Anderson said.
Now older, Anderson strives to carry out the pillars of strength provided to him by taking a lead role on the team. The team is composed of many younger players, so Anderson has done his best to step up to the plate.
“I have found myself in a significant leadership role. I have had the opportunity to set an example of what we strive for within our program, doing my best to teach, encourage, and guide our group towards the level we are looking to reach and achieve,” Anderson said.
Sullivan also noted how Anderson has carried the torch as he has grown older, keeping the team culture alive.
“We have very few egos, and Anderson has been a great leader for that,” Sullivan said. “We keep pushing the envelope to keep getting better.”
This year, the Pride are sitting with a .857 win percentage and a 12-2 record through Feb. 21. The abundance of success is largely due to their team culture being centered around trust and support.
“What contributes most to our success is our ability to trust each other and establish positive relationships that only better how we work together and perform on the court,” Anderson said. “Doing so allows us to be a cohesive unit and produce a very high level of play.”
Sullivan also highlighted how his team is able to stay on top of the proverbial ladder, frequently recognized as a top Division III school.
“We use a Will Farrell reference from the movie Old School,” Sullivan said. “To be our most effective servers, and it has served us great.”
As the season progresses, the Pride are rounding closer postseason play – looking for a 12th national championship.
“We are a highly competitive and hardworking group that looks to enhance our team cohesion through sharing the same goals and desires,” Anderson said.
Although he has a shelf full of trophies, Anderson knows there is always room for improvement. His work ethic ripples throughout the team and has catapulted them to more success.
“There are always more ways that I can better myself to reach my full potential, so I utilize rewards for motivation rather than stress to remind myself that there is always room for improvement,” Anderson concluded.
Photo Courtesy of Springfield College Athletics