UAA Athletics

‘Always down for an adventure’: French national Lisa Jaunet took a long road to the UAA volleyball team

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The University of Alaska of Alaska Anchorage volleyball team has a star-studded senior class this year that has propelled them to their most successful season in recent memory. The Seawolves boast an impressive 23-2 overall record and overpowered conference foes en route to a 13-1 mark.

While the record-setting senior duo of Eve Stephens and Ellen Floyd have dominated the headlines this season, the Seawolves have an international student-athlete on the team that has also been key in their run to this point.

Senior outside hitter Lisa Jaunet has been playing volleyball since she was 13 years old and hails from Saint-Denis, Reunion Island, France. Interest in the sport runs deep throughout Europe and especially the Jaunet family.

Her older brother, Gabriel, plays professionally in Spain, and her younger sister Fanette plays in France. Jaunet’s father, Benoit, played for the French military national volleyball team, and her mother played the sport as well.

She wanted to come to America so that she could both continue playing the sport she loves while still furthering her education which is harder to do in Europe.

“In Europe it’s kind of either/or and when I found out that it was possible here, it was a no-brainer,” Jaunet said. “I’m always down for an adventure.”

When she first arrived in the United States, she had no idea that she’d end up finishing her collegiate career in the Last Frontier but after speaking with UAA volleyball head coach Chris Green and his staff via a Zoom call one random day, she was sold.

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“I just had a great feeling with the coaches right away,” Jaunet said. “I had never seen anything like Alaska.”

She came to the program after spending two years at State College of Florida. Because of his history as a former junior college coach, Green was able to find her film, get in contact and recruit her to come play in Alaska.

“Offensively, she hits the ball harder than almost anyone that has been in this gym,” Green said. “Last year was her first year in the program and she has really improved from last year to this year.”

Jaunet ranks second on the team behind Stephens with 256 kills, 2.94 kills per set, and 674 total attacks. She does lead the team with 85 errors and would like to be more strategic in her approach to attacking going forward.

“Sometimes it’s better to play smart than to hit hard, so I’m trying to do both,” Jaunet said. “Eve has both and I think that’s what makes her such a great player.”

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Even though she is just in her second season with the team, it already feels like home to her. She felt welcomed right away and feels like she’s “been here forever.”

“This program has done so much for me,” Jaunet said. “I came and already had some skills but because the team is so good, I got to acquire so many more skills.”

Green sees tremendous value in having international players in the program because it exposes both the team and individuals to different cultures.

“It lends to our diversity and it’s a pretty cool thing,” he said.

Jaunet didn’t anticipate as massive of a culture shock as she experienced upon her arrival to America. But she found some of the American stereotypes fit her experience.

“Every little thing is different,” she said. “Things in the U.S. are way bigger than in France whether it’s the roads, the milk bottles, and the way people are in the U.S. are way more welcoming and open.”

She experienced another culture shock when moving from Florida to Alaska to continue her playing career.

“It’s quite different but I like that,” Jaunet said. “I moved from Florida so I could see another side of the U.S.”

Even after she graduation, Jaunet intends on making regular return visits.

“I have so many more things to see here and I’m definitely going to come back and bring more family here even when I’m gone,‘’ Jaunet said.

Seawolves hope to make history on senior night

UAA will be playing its last two home matches of the regular season at the Alaska Airlines Center this week, both of which will be against Great Northwest Athletic Conference opponents. The first is against Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and the second will be Saturday against Central Washington on Saturday night. On Saturday, the team will honor their stellar senior class and attempt to set the NCAA Division II volleyball regular-season attendance record.

The idea was proposed through the sports administration department in an effort to make one game a special event. After looking up NCAA Division II attendance records, they came up with “Pack the House” night. In an effort to galvanize support from the community, entry to the match will be just $5, two fans will win trips courtesy of Alaska Airlines, there will be a $500 UAA student tuition giveaway, and the first 1,000 fans receive a free Seawolf drawstring backpack.

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The current record is 3,520 for a regular season match and the Alaska Airlines Center has a max capacity of 5,000 seats. Green said the biggest crowd it has had for a volleyball game to date has been 2,700 for a regional tournament and 2,200 for a regular season game.

“That’s our goal and I think it’s very possible,” he said. “It’d be pretty cool to be a part of history.”

He hopes that the festivities and the fact that it is also senior night will provide the team with even more juice to come out firing on all cylinders so that they can close out the regular season and head into the regional tournament on a high note.

Since Stephens is a former local prep star that attended and graduated from Colony High, the Sewolves would welcome a strong showing from the Palmer community.

With the regular season winding down, the Seawolves are keeping their eye on even grander feats in the postseason.

“It’s hard to see the finish line and we have a lot of goals to accomplish so we’re trying to focus for these last games but it’s definitely bittersweet,” Jaunet said.



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Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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