Redwood City Native Jesse Larkin of Kean University Named NJAC Rookie of the Year in Women’s Volleyball


UNION, N.J. – Kean University women’s volleyball player Jesse Larkin of Redwood City, California, was named the 2016 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Year after a standout freshman season. Larkin is second in the league with a .334 hitting percentage and third in blocks, averaging 1.03 per set. Both marks are tops among all NJAC rookies.

Although she was met with the expected challenges and tough opponents as she made her first appearances on the court, Larkin managed to hit .650 and .550 in her first two matches of the season and, from then on, was on everyone’s radar.

“Jesse is smart and a steady player and we couldn’t be more excited to have her on the team for the next few years,” said Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Don Perkins. “Other teams had to pay attention to her and she came out on top on most nights,” he added, noting that she outperformed a senior competitor who had long been considered the best middle in the conference.

This marks the second-straight year a Cougar has taken home the NJAC Rookie of the Year award. Last season, current Kean sophomore Brett Harper earned the honor.

Larkin, a Redwood City, California, native, made a big first impression in her collegiate debut with 13 kills and a career-best 21 points against Mount Saint Vincent in the first match of the year onSeptember 1. She eclipsed the kill total in NJAC action with 14 at Rowan University on September 27. Larkin's regular season totals this year included 174 kills, 85 blocks - including 14 solos - 57 digs and 27 aces. Larkin hit better than .500 in eight matches this season, including a .700 mark against Hunter College on October 25.

Being part of the Cougar’s women’s volleyball team has proven the value of the motto Larkin lives by: “‘Play for the team and not for oneself.’” She draws much of her inspiration from her teammates, peers and parents, and said, “my best training has been to communicate with my team to make the best chemistry on the court.” Larkin also emphasized that school is her first priority. “I make sure to finish my homework before practice and games, and then skip off to play,” she said. “Volleyball is a kind of getaway for me.”

The Cougars finished the 2016 season with a 21-12 record, a fourth-place finish in the NJAC regular season standings and an appearance in the NJAC semifinals.

PHOTO/CAPTION: City native and member of Kean University’s women’s volleyball team, Jesse Larkin, was named the 2016 New Jersey Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year after a standout freshman season. University women’s volleyball player Jesse Larkin was named the 2016 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Year after a standout freshman season.

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University's six undergraduate colleges offer 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctorate degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable, accessible and world-class education. Visit



Press Contact: 

Millie Gonzalez
Media Relations
Kean University | 908-737-0586

Kimberly DeRitter
Director of Sports Information


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