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Notre Dame volleyball’s Claudia Jones reaches 1,000 career assists

Notre Dame sophomore Claudia Jones reached 1,000 career assists back in the SEMO Conference Tournament on Sept. 28. Photo by Jay Forness

In only her second season of high school volleyball, Notre Dame sophomore setter Claudia Jones reached 1,000 assists for her career two weeks back in the SEMO Conference Tournament.

Jones, who also plays club volleyball in the offseason for Pursuit, currently has the third-most assists in all of Missouri with 739, which is only 104 away from the Bulldogs single-season program assists record of 843. This mark of 739 assists also ranks Claudia first among all setters in Class 3.

“Reaching 1,000 assists means a lot, but my hitters really help me because I can’t do it without them,” Jones said. “I feel like I’ve gotten more comfortable playing high school volleyball than I did in grade school. Pursuit helps because that’s a higher level of volleyball I feel like. We play teams from everywhere, so that helps a lot.”

Last week in a five-set, 3-2 thrilling win over Class 1 powerhouse Advance (24-3-3), Jones helped Notre Dame (20-5-3) end the Hornets perfect season by recording a career-high 51 assists.

Claudia followed that up with 43 assists in another five-set win this time over Saxony Lutheran (19-7-2). Both of these wins avenged losses the Bulldogs suffered to both teams earlier this fall.

Jones notched two other games with 40-plus assists as well with 42 against St. Vincent and 31 versus Ste. Genevieve in what were both 3-2 wins for Notre Dame.

When asked about what makes her such a successful setter, Jones talked about the outstanding hitters she’s had the past two years but especially this fall. The two players Jones mentioned were 6-foot middle blockers fellow sophomore Kate Rubel and junior Courtney Tatum.

Rubel actually has the 17th-most kills in Missouri with 318 (third most amongst players in Class 3) as Tatum paces Kate for Notre Dame with her total of 248 kills. Additionally, Rubel has already surpassed 500 kills in her career, sitting at 576.

Jones had both of these hitters to set the ball to as a freshman, along with 2023 graduates Kristin Anderson, Grace Young and Tori Rubel.

“Kate and Courtney get kills like every time they go up to hit, so they help,” Jones said. “Last year, we had a lot of good hitters that got kills most of the time they hit. We’re all close teammates, and we’re not spread out or don’t talk to each other. We all talk to each other a lot.”

Jones is also one of Notre Dame’s top servers with a team-high 46 aces and 96.8 serve percentage.

The back-to-back district champion Bulldogs have already earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye for the upcoming Class 3 District 1 Tournament, which will begin Oct. 19. Seeded below Notre Dame was Saxony at No. 2, followed by No. 3 Fredericktown (16-4-1).

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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