Madsen Leads Despite Broken Thumb
Nothing frustrates an athlete more than being forced to the bench by an injury. Ask Terrell Davis, Bo Jackson, Peter Forsberg, Kerry Wood or Dartmouth volleyball star Jen Madsen.
Madsen suffered a broken thumb during a routine drill in practice a couple weeks ago. As a consequence of this occurrence, she will most likely miss the rest of the season, leaving the Big Green not only with a hole at the middle blocker position but also the loss of invaluable on-court leadership from the senior co-captain.
Freshman teammate Anna Jenkins says of the loss: "Her injury is a major blow to the team; you simply can't replace a Jen Madsen."
Prior to her injury, Madsen had tallied 136 kills, averaging 2.89 per contest, as well as registering 102 digs, recording 2.17 per match. She also contributed 25 blocks over the season. Last year, she was Honorable Mention All-Ivy. Already this season, Madsen had made the All-Tournament Team in the Dartmouth Invitational and the Crimson Classic.
More than that, Madsen provides a certain spark to the team with her trademark emphatic kills at net. She never fails to ignite the crowd over the course of a match with a key block or a powerful kill.
"With her mere presence on the court, the overall intensity and focus of the team jumps to a higher level," Jenkins says.
"Jen has been a driving force on our team and one of the major reasons for our success thus far," says Dartmouth coach Ann Marie Larese. "She has really grown as a player and has become a major force as a middle blocker within the league."
While Madsen may not see on-court action for the remainder of the season, she still eagerly serves in her role as a team captain. She admits that she is "a loud person," and such vocal leadership combined with her effusive personality makes for an effective leader.
"Jen has always been someone that brings a smile and enthusiasm into whatever she is doing," remarks junior Andrea Sea. "She is definitely missed on the court, but her presence as member of the team is still as strong as ever. We all look to her for leadership and inspiration."
Even in her absence, Madsen sees a bright future ahead for the Big Green.
"We have great chemistry, which is key in volleyball," Madsen says. "The team especially has the mental strength and drive to be successful. Our team chemistry is so natural; we get along on and off the court."
This team cohesiveness manifests itself through the support Madsen has received during this tough time.
"The team has embraced me so well," Madsen says.
In addition to her starring role on the volleyball team, Madsen also plays a key role on the softball team. "At this point my main focus is rehabilitation. My goal is to be fully recovered in time for the softball season."
This is good news for the Big Green softball fans, but volleyball supporters are hoping for Madsen's return this season if at all possible. It's unlikely, but can she pull off a Willis Reed and make a dramatic return during postseason play?
The chances may be slim, but Madsen doesn't rule out a possible return at the end of the season if her thumb can heal quickly enough.
Even if she has played her last match for the Big Green, Madsen will remain an integral part of the squad.
"Jen is a wonderful person," Morgan says. "She is an amazing individual and will find a way to make the most of any situation she finds herself in."