Scarborough’s Jennifer Cross twice helped her Birchmount Park Collegiate volleyball team to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) quad-A championship game – settling for a silver medal on both occasions.
And she almost accomplished the same feat for her U.S. college team, falling just one step short as her University of Michigan women’s volleyball team lost their National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) semifinal match earlier this month to the University of Texas 3-2 (25-11, 21-25, 23-25, 25-12, 15-11).
It ended a Cinderella run for the University of Michigan (27-12) who were unranked and in their first ever final-four. Texas (28-4), who went on to win the championship, was third ranked.
And it ended a terrific season for Cross who, prior to the semifinal game, was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2012 All-America third team – the only member of her team to receive such an honour. She’s also the only Canadian on her team – although, ironically, born on the fourth of July.
A third-year kinesiology student at Michigan, Cross set a single-season school record for blocks with 181 and shared a single season matches played record for Michigan with two other teammates at 39.
She also played a key role in getting her Woverines team, which wasn’t even one of the 16-ranked teams heading into the NCAA championship tournament, into the final four with their key 3-1 upset quarter-final win over second-seeded Stanford (20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-20) on Dec. 8. Cross contributed 15 kills and nine digs.
Their road to the final four also included an upset win over ninth-ranked Louisville in the second round.
Cross warmed up for the U.S. collegiate season as the only Toronto resident on Canada’s national women’s volleyball team competing in the Pan Am Cup this past summer. She was previously a member of Canada’s national junior team. She is also an accomplished beach volleyball player representing Canada at the U19 and U21 world championships.
Back in her high school days, she helped her Birchmount Park Collegiate team win four straight Toronto District School Board (TDSB) city titles in addition to their two OFSAA silver medals.
At the same time she also helped her Durham Attack club win three straight provincial club championships (2008-10). Prior to that she suited up for the Scarborough Titans club.