It’s funny how old connections can sometimes provide new opportunities.
While watching her star libero Maddie Jaudon in a club tournament in February, Batavia volleyball coach Lori Trippi-Payne struck up a conversation with an old friend, Elon University coach Mary Tendler.
Back in the mid-80s, she was known as Mary Eggers when she starred at West Aurora before moving on to Illinois and becoming one of the all-time best Illini volleyball players. She also played for the same club team, Sports Performance, that Jaudon plays for.
“We started talking and I was asking what she needed in 2015, and she mentioned libero,” Trippi-Payne said. “She watched Maddie play, and they started communicating.”
That communication continued into the summer when Jaudon decided to make Elon her future college destination.
Tendler is heading into her 12th year coaching the Division I Phoenix, who are making the transition from the Southern Conference to the Colonial Athletic Association this fall. The school is located in Elon, N.C., about a 20 minute drive from Greensboro.
“I liked the coaching staff and I loved the school and the atmosphere and the team,” Jaudon said. “I think it’s going to be weird going so far away from home, but the school was so welcoming.”
Jaudon was made for the back row, as evidenced by her school record 29 digs in a match last fall.
“She’s very athletic, she swings well hitting-wise out of the back row, very versatile,” Trippi-Payne said. “She is definitely a really good libero.”
Jaudon has been around the Batavia program for a long time. Her sister Ellen was on the 2010 team that won a conference title and a regional crown.
“She’s been around a while,” Trippie-Payne said. “She knows the players from back in the day and she’s been around the program for a long time, which is a neat thing.”
Trippi-Payne also lauds her school work, which includes many AP classes, and her charity work. Her and some teammates put together a charity volleyball tournament earlier this month that raised $250 for Project Fit America to help kids who are not as fortunate as her and her teammates in terms of getting the opportunity to play sports.
Now preparations are under way for her final season at Batavia. While many athletes who commit to college prior to their seasons feel a sense of relief to get the decision out of the way, Jaudon’s relief comes in another form.
“I think it’s more of a relief because I know it’s a really good school for me,” Jaudon said. “It was great to find the right school so early. I’m really excited.”