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New Mexico State freshman Victoria Barrett making immediate impact


Jason Groves   | Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES - You would think that setting the Virginia record for kills would allow Victoria Barrett to play her college volleyball closer to home. 

But much as he has done throughout his career, New Mexico State volleyball coach Mike Jordan seems to have found himself another steal in Barrett, who had 29 kills and a .234 hitting percentage in her college debut last week in a pair of wins against Dixie State. 

"I wasn't quite sure that I would play the way I did, not because I was nervous, but it my first college game action that counted," Barrett said. "I was hoping I would step up to the plate without nerves. 

"I just have to continue working hard in practice on the things that I have to improve on."

Barrett's 2,031 kills at North Safford High School was a state record that led to Division I offers from Cleveland State, Radford, Dayton and Howard. She caught New Mexico State's attention at club tournaments her junior year in Atlanta and Florida. She took a visit to NM State pre-pandemic in September 2019.

"My high school career was pretty good," Barrett said. "We ended up being really successful over the four years. I was looking for east coast schools but they don't really look past the height factor."

At 5-foot-9, Barrett has the potential of following in a long line of undersized outside players under Jordan. Whitney Woods, Stephanie Ziegler and current teammates Cat Kelly and Savannah Davison have proven to be productive offensive players under the magical 6-foot barrier. That track record of developing undersized outside hitters was key in convincing Barrett, and her family, to play college volleyball halfway across the country.

"Height is important in our sport," said Jordan, whose team returns to Western Athletic Conference action on Monday-Tuesday at Texas-Rio Grande Valley. "You don't have to work as hard to hit the ball at a high contact point. But if you have really good jumping ability - and some people get off the floor faster than others - and then good arm speed, that translates to scoring points. Victoria has all of that, except for height."

An injury to Kelly and Jordan's system allowed for Barrett to make an impact as a freshman. She's also a willing defensive player to stay on the court. 

"She's been coachable and she's learning quickly on the fly," Jordan said. "She has a lot to learn and she makes freshman mistakes, but she also makes a lot of plays."

Sports Editor Jason Groves can be reached at 575-541-5459 or jgroves@lcsun-news.com. Follow him on Twitter @jpgroves.