LSU Volleyball's Comeback Kid
By Ryan Rogers
As a rising star on the LSU volleyball team in 1999, one of the Tigers’ key players suffered a season ending knee injury early in the season. She tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. To make things worse, she missed the deadline to qualify for a medical red-shirt by a mere two days. With her entire junior season basically down the drain, she could have given up. Instead, she faced the tough road of recovery ahead in order to try and return for her senior season.
That’s the scenario that LSU senior outside hitter Jill Lytle faced after last year’s devastating knee injury. However, Lytle has proved that she is determined to persevere. Lytle has recovered well from her knee injury, and she is now 100 percent heading into her senior year.
“My rehab went really well. Everyone on LSU’s staff was very helpful. I consider myself very lucky,” said Lytle.
Often people speak of adversity making them stronger people in the end. Lytle definitely agrees with that concept.
“Getting hurt has taught me to appreciate things so much more. I value the fact that I can practice every day and I am capable of pushing myself. I am so thankful that everyday I can be out there and practice with the team. You’re so helpless when you’re injured and you can’t play.”
Determination is a word that equivalents with Lytle. She is without a doubt the hardest worker on the team. Her good spirit and solid work ethic are eminent.
“I am very determined and I don’t give up very easily. That’s my best asset.” LSU volleyball head coach Fran Flory feels blessed to have Lytle on her team.
“Jill is one of the most determined athletes I’ve ever had. She is one of the most mentally strong athletes I’ve ever had. She has an incredible amount of desire. She’s incredibly competitive and she brings good things to the team,” said Flory.
The Tigers finished third in the SEC west last year (7-8 in SEC play, 17-15 overall). Lytle thinks they can improve on that this year. She has aspirations of a great season in 2000.
“We had the best preseason that I’ve ever been involved with. So that was very exciting. We should be one of the top teams in the conference, I really think we’ll do well this season.”
If the Tigers are to succeed, Lytle will have to be a large contributor. In her career she has amassed 152 kills, 288 digs, 474 assist and 25 aces.
Leadership is definitely a trait the team will look for in Lytle.
“I know I just have to do whatever it takes to help this team.”
Lytle is very excited going into her senior year. The Houston native has enjoyed her time in Baton Rouge.
“It’s been a great experience at LSU over the years. Through good times and bad it’s been fun. I’ve made lots of good memories. I’m sure I’ll make many more throughout my senior year. I love LSU so much.”
Lytle is a business major scheduled to graduate this year. She plans to pursue a career in coaching and sports management.
Her enthusiasm about not just playing volleyball, but life in general is very evident when being around Jill. She is a charismatic person who brings joy to everyone around her. She has immense pride in her school and her team. Jill is candidly proud to wear the purple and gold of LSU and represent her school.