Hove Leading Spikers

Great athletes are the ones opposing coaches worry about. Great athletes pose problems for the defense. Great athletes will cause a coach to yell, “”Put a body on him!”” or “”Don’t let him get a clear shot!””

Lyon Liew

Junior Jordan Hove has become that player for the UCSD men’s volleyball team.

Hove began playing volleyball at the age of 10, which means he has spent a full 10 years in the sport.

“”My dad was a pretty successful beach volleyball player as well as indoor player for a long time so I started playing with him on the beach,”” Hove said. “”I didn’t actually start playing indoor volleyball until I was a freshman in high school, but I already had that beach background so it wasn’t a really hard transition.””

Hove was an all-around athlete at Malibu High School, where he built his mental strength and physical ability.

“”I played basketball in high school, as well as baseball and soccer for a long time before high school; but volleyball has always been my favorite,”” Hove said. “”I knew that I could probably make the team at a lot of other schools that were Division I, but I would have just sat on the bench. Here, I knew that I would have at least a chance to play and since we are in the [Mountain Pacific Sports Federation], I knew that I would get a chance to play against the best competition in the country.””

According to Hove, collegiate-level volleyball in a Division II and high school play is like night and day.

“”I think just like anything else in college, this is the biggest difference between college and high school: The level of competition is so much higher,”” he said. “”Instead of going up against 6-foot-2 guys who have marginal skills, we play teams who are all 6-foot-6 and have really good skills. I used to walk in the gym and be like, ‘I can do anything I want on the court,’ because the people we played against just weren’t that good. Teams are too good to be able to think that way now.””

In many instances a player might have a strong point in a certain area but a weakness in another.

Shaquille O’Neal can dominate around the basket but cannot shoot a free throw. Randy Johnson can throw 15 strikeouts but has a batting average under .200.

Hove, to be a better asset, made it an issue to become a solid all-around player.

“”Because of my beach background where you have to be able to do everything well — hitting, passing, defense, setting, etc. — I had to develop my all-around skills a little bit more. I’m not good enough at one thing to be able to make a living off that one thing. John Daly in golf can hit huge drives, and that is pretty much what makes him a really good player. I don’t have that one thing, so I try to be good at everything in order to be a good player.””

This formula has him leading the team in sets and serves. Hove’s play has allowed the Tritons to be competitive in every match, regardless of the level of competition and regardless of their current record.

As for those on the team who have helped with the transition to the collegiate level, Hove gives credit to junior Kevin Flynn and senior Ernie Yun, who according to Hove, have “”helped me to understand what kind of a unique situation I have here at UCSD.””