Former Pitt University standout Jenna Potts has signed her first professional contract to play overseas with Kralovo Pole Brno in Brno, Czech Republic. The 6’3″ (191 cm) middle-blocker will serve as a replacement for the club after another American, former Indiana and Miami collegian Awele Nwaeze, and the club parted ways.
“As soon as my agent told me the name of the city the club is in, I googled it, and immediately was sold,” Potts said. “After hearing the rest of the details, I had an uncanny feeling this was the place I was supposed to be, and couldn’t believe how lucky I was that this was one of my first offers. I was beaming with excitement for the next few days. Especially after this past summer when we traveled abroad as a team, I knew that playing professionally was what I wanted to do, so it’s very cool to me that this is actually happening.”
Potts was on the roster for one season at Xavier University on a medical redshirt before using all four years of eligibility at Pitt. In her senior season, Pitt advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where they fell to powerhouses Penn State. Among their claims on the season included being the only ACC team to knock off eventual conference champions North Carolina.
Potts ranked 33rd nationally in blocks-per-set, averaging a career-high 1.32 per. She also had a career high in kills (201/117 sets, 1.72-per) and hit a blazing .355 on the season ranking her 45th nationally and 2nd in the ACC. Potts was named an Honorable Mention All-American by the AVCA for her efforts.
The club, which plays in the Extraliga, the top level of Czech volleyball, currently sits mid-table (5 out of 9 teams) in the 12th week of play. Potts’ debut is expected to be January 14th when the team plays Frydek Mistek, a team with only 2 wins this season.
Potts will line up in the middle next to 23-year old Amanda Brown, who currently lead the Czech league with 126 blocks, in a formidable center for Brno. Brown, another American, played her collegiate volleyball at Oregon State.
“I’m looking forward to continue growing as a volleyball player and seeing how far this sport will take me,” Potts said. “I’m also looking forward to making new friends, experiencing a new culture, and having the opportunity to explore Europe.”
Potts says she’s expecting both new pressures, and the relief of old pressures, as a professional.
“I’ll have to adjust to a new system and a different style of play right away which might be tough, particularly since I’m going in the middle of the season and will be expected to perform right away. The language barrier will be a huge difference, too, of course. One of my brothers got me a translations book for Christmas and I’m currently learning to say the most basic words like, hello. Czech is really hard but thankfully the coach and most of my teammates speak at least a little bit of English. I’ll also just be an athlete instead of a student-athlete now. Since I’m a professional, there will be higher expectations on my performance from the club and from the fans. But on the flip side, I won’t have to worry about a 10-page paper after practice ends, which will be nice.”