At the end of last season, Arizona Wildcats outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge said she had a lot to think about over the winter break. With a fifth year of eligibility, she could stay at Arizona, transfer elsewhere, or opt to try her hand at the pro game. The decision has been made. Arizona it is.
Hodge came in as one of the seventh-ranked class in 2020, but her career and that of her classmates were immediately disrupted by the pandemic. They played two seasons in 2021, one in the spring and one in the fall. They didn’t have a spring training session until they were headed into their junior seasons. Because Arizona was so young at the time the NCAA made the allowance for an extra year of eligibility, they were significantly younger than many teams for most of their careers.
She has made the best of it. Hodge finished second on the team and 17th in the Pac-12 in kills her freshman season, which was played in the spring of 2021. As a sophomore in the fall of 2021, she was first on the team in kills (373) and kills per set (3.27). That placed her 10th in kills and 14th in kills per set in the Pac-12. As a junior, she was again second on the team in kills (353) and kills per set (2.97), placing her 14th and 21st in the league, respectively.
Last season, Hodge was third on the team with 309 kills and 2.73 kills per set. Those marks were 20th and 24th in the Pac-12. On defense, she had career highs in digs (230) and digs per set (2.04).
Arizona could potentially also return OH/OPP Sofia Maldonado Diaz for a fifth year. She has said that she won’t make her decision until after the school year is over.