With Emerald Ridge High volleyball standout Kava Durr’s commitment to Colorado State University finalized in May, the first domino has fallen for the most successful trio of players to come through the program.
“I chose (CSU) during the summer because I was really excited about that school, the coaches and the players,” Durr said.
In addition to CSU, Durr held four other offers: Montana, Boise State, Idaho and San Diego.
“I liked Colorado a lot because I have family there, too. It made it easier knowing I’ll be closer to family,” Durr added.
“It’s crazy, and (I’m) so exciting for her. She’s improved so much for us on the team,” teammate Jadyn Mullen said.
They were only kids on a very powerful Emerald Ridge volleyball squad that had sights on the Class 4A state championship trophy. In a high-pressure situation, anxiety attacks are common, and almost expected for these three young Jaguars.
It was 2014, and Durr, Taylor Templeman and Mullen had become the inaugural freshman class for the Emerald Ridge volleyball team.
“They’re looking for her as an outside hitter, because they like that she has a 10-foot vertical leap,” said Emerald Ridge co-coach Jill Fox-Mullen on CSU’s interest in Durr, who plays primarily as a middle hitter.
Every game mattered that year. Every set piece meant something for the Jaguars on their way to the 4A state title game, with Emerald Ridge losing the title game to rival Bellarmine Prep and finishing in second place.
Then the core group, led by Portland State’s Jenna Mullen, left the program — graduating and moving on to bigger and better things.
“This year we’re a new team. We’re always a new team,” Mullen admitted. “We lost five seniors from last year who started so we’re rebuilding.”
“We have to take charge now of the team now, giving it our own personality,” Templeman added. “League is going to be tough, so it’s going to be important for us to come together like a family. That will help us later in the season.”
Emerald Ridge was supposed to take a step back last season, trying to find a new identity of the team. SPSL rival Curtis had surpassed the Jaguars, as the Vikings claimed the league title, ending ER’s reign at the top.
It was a harsh reality realizing that the volleyball world wasn’t going to just go their way anymore.
“We have to go out there and prove we can do it again,” Durr said.
Emerald Ridge lost both league matches to Curtis last season, and after a strong playoff run, lost to the Vikings one last time in the 4A championship game.
Now it’s their team completely as McKenna Smith (Central Washington) and Ashley Wesenberg (Utah State) have left. For these next two years, this Jaguar team will be defined by Durr, Templeman and Mullen.
And now with Durr committing to Colorado State, and with Templeman holding an offer to Radford University in Virginia out of the Big South Conference, as well as Seattle University, there’s only one player left to reach their dream of playing at a D-I school at the next level.
“That would be amazing for Jadyn to get an offer,” Templeman said. “It would mean that we did something together from freshman year, to all the way up to college.”
For now, Durr and her commitment with Colorado State make her the only one set for the future.
“I’m just going to go out there and try my best to highlight their skills, and help them get their offer,” Durr said.