April Jakubowski committed to volleyball and became a legend after cheerleading accident

April Jakubowski enjoyed cheerleading as a high school student. From the stunts, the joy shown by the crowd, and of course, the real cheers. He loved the sport and planned to continue it as long as possible until a mistake changed his future.

During a routine as a seventh grader, she was thrown into the air and was not caught, landing in agony. Jakubowski suffered a sprained left knee and neck, and was optimistic he could cheer again until he was advised to find another athletic endeavor.

“It was upsetting,” Jakubowski recalls.

With her cheerleading career over, finding another sport wasn’t difficult. Jakubowski had played volleyball with her cousins ​​for fun, and was encouraged to try out for the Lancaster team. She had never played volleyball as an organized sport, but she was more than willing to try something new.

“She decided to try something else and she decided to choose volleyball,” Lancaster coach Becky Edwards said. “It was kind of serendipitous because she was cheering her whole life and she decided to make the move, and Lancaster volleyball is lucky that she made the move.”

This weekend, he will lead Lancaster (18-0) into the New York State Public Schools Athletic Association Class AA state semifinals. The tournament begins Saturday at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls with each of the semifinalists playing two sets against the other teams. The two teams with the best records after Saturday will face off for the championship at noon on Sunday.

Jakubowski had a successful test and made the modified team, and committed himself to the sport to improve. As an eighth grader, she made the junior varsity and as a freshman, became a varsity starter.

“She’s been the starting creator since her freshman year and that’s pretty hard to do to come in that young and run an offense,” Edwards said. “She does a great job running our offense and we’re excited to have her back for another year.”

Jakubowski was intrigued with volleyball. She was irritated by the type of player he could become because she knew that his potential could only be reached based on his commitment. Jakubowski improved each season and was named to the All-WNY team last season, putting herself in good position to make the team again. This season, she has 25 aces, 37 blocks, 146 digs and 576 assists.

“I think it’s because of the challenge that I like the sport,” Jakubowski said. “There’s never a stopping point in terms of how good you can be, you can only keep getting better and I’m definitely a very driven person and I like to be the best at what I do.”

In five years of playing volleyball, Jakubowski has become one of the top players in program history and has established herself as a top talent in Western New York. She is the first Lancaster player with at least 1,000 career assists.

During the team’s first nonleague game of the season against Sacred Heart Academy on Sept. 23, Jakubowski etched his name into the school’s record book. After the success, he appreciated the brand and enjoyed the appreciation shown to him by his coaches and teammates.

“She knew it was coming, but because she’s such a humble player, she never does it for herself,” Edwards said. “Even though we gave her a ball that said ‘1,000 assists’ and painted her a gold volleyball, she never does it for herself and cleans it up and says, ‘Thanks guys.’ She’s as humble as can be.” .

Not only has Jakubowski evolved as a good player, but she has grown closer to her teammates and Edwards. The two have established a relationship that has Edwards in constant fear due to Jakubowski’s maturity. Who has become has allowed the coach to rely on one of her leaders to convey messages to the team when necessary and also create an acceptance of constructive criticism.

It’s a bond that not many coaches and players have and something that can be envied. The two have become almost one to the point, whenever they hug, which is usually after big wins, they share a long hug and a few tears.

“I would say it’s because it’s so close to me, it means a lot,” Jakubowski said. “She really believes in me and that’s what makes it really special. It’s created a strong bond between us, and I think that’s why we have a strong relationship on and off the court.”

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