Chey Jones knows how to get a crowd up on its feet — by smashing a volleyball down at someone’s shoes.
And, the 6-foot-4 senior admits, she savors every second of that.
“I love it when I hit the ball straight down and it bounces off the floor, especially after a long rally,” Jones said. “That’s an awesome feeling, and the crowd goes wild.”
It was a frequent feeling this season for Jones, who keyed Tahoma High School’s finest volleyball season, going 35-3 and winning the Class 4A state championship. For that she is the 2019 Star Times volleyball player of the year.
Jones, a four-year varsity member who has signed with Boise State, amassed nearly 500 kills this season, including 29 in five-set win over Puyallup at districts, matching her career high.
“Chey Jones is a difference maker,” Puyallup coach Tony Batinovich said. “She is a threat to put the ball away every time she is set.”
Especially at the net — but not exclusively.
“While Chey is often most noted for her hard hits and standout kills, she is also a huge part of our serve receive,” Tahoma co-coach Sara Russell said. “Her serve receive passing stats are second only to our libero. You don’t see many other 6-foot-4 girls pass like Chey does. Her consistency and leadership on the court were an integral piece to our team’s success this season.”
But it was those massive kills that ultimately gave her teammates a major lift throughout the season.
“Whenever Chey got a kill, it changed the whole mood of the team and swung the momentum of the game in our direction,” teammate McKenna Peters said.
Jones gets her height from her 6-4 father, Dan, and remembers always being the tallest kid in her class growing up.
“You get used to it,” she said. “I got made fun of for a little bit.”
She started playing volleyball in elementary school in part because her older sister played (as had their dad), and enjoyed some success as a high jumper in middle school, where she also tried basketball, “but I wasn’t very good at it.”
Volleyball came more naturally, and she fell in love with the sport.
“I love to compete and I love the pace,” Jones said. “It doesn’t stop. I love that there is always something to look forward to and get better at.”
She went from being a reserve as a freshman, to starting at right-side hitter her sophomore year to leading the Bears in kills last season, when they picked up a second consecutive fifth-place trophy at state.
Jones, who committed to Boise State as a sophomore, said she worked hard on her passing and defense after her junior season, and it showed.
“I improved a lot since last year, and my confidence got better,” she said.
While others might not have been surprised when Jones was voted MVP in the NPSL Cascade Division, she could hardly believe it when her coaches told her.
“It gave me the chills,” she said. “I always wanted to be that, but I never knew it could be done. … It’s a very competitive league. It could have been anyone.”
And when found out she had been named Star Times player of the year, chosen from the more than 100 high schools in King and Snohomish counties: “That was insane,” Jones said.
Sometimes, Jones likes to act a little insane, or “goofy” as Peters — who has known her since grade school — calls her, especially around her friends. But she’s all business in the classroom with a 3.8 cumulative grade-point average that ranks 81st out of Tahoma’s 640 seniors. She is leaning toward majoring in engineering, particularly mechanical engineering, in college.
At home, Jones is more down-to-earth than diva, generally doing her own laundry and keeping her room tidy.
“I love being organized,” she said.
Her teammates embrace her for her kindness as much as her kills.
“She cares about everyone around her,” Peters said.
Except for when they are wearing the shoes across the net.
2019 Star Times volleyball team
Rosie Ogborn, Roosevelt, Sr., S
Ogborn’s importance on one of the Metro League’s top teams was evident as she was named MVP of the Sound Division on a talented, all-around team. Quicker than many setters with a high volleyball IQ, she is able to get to balls others can’t and is adept at spreading the ball around.
Jenna Howard, North Creek, Sr., S/RS
The Washington State signee was the Jaguars’ most consistent player during a stellar season, according to coach Richard Abiador, keying their run to a share of the KingCo 4A title and return trip to state. Howard (5-10) also was a solid right-side hitter and played tough defense.
Samaya Morin, Lake Stevens, Jr., OH
A repeat Star Times selection, Morin has taken her powerful game to an even higher level and can hit from anywhere on the court, regularly logging double-digit kills. She is also a skilled passer who more than carries her own weight on defense.
Sophia Meyers, Eastside Catholic, Sr., OH
Meyers, who has signed with the University of Montana, surpassed the 500-kill mark this year to shatter the school’s single-season record and fuel the Crusaders’ strong playoff run while hitting an impressive .340. She was the clear choice as MVP in the Metro League Mountain Division.
Kyleene Filimaua, North Creek, Fr., OH
Billed as a freshman phenom coming into the season, Filimaua lived up to the hype, earning co-MVP honors in KingCo 4A while leading the Jaguars to a share of the conference title and return trip to the Class 4A state tournament. Already committed to Florida State.
Bailey Showalter, Mount Si, So., OH
Showalter earned her share of the KingCo 4A MVP honors by not only leading the Wildcats in kills (367 in 91 sets), but digs (377) and aces (86) as well, displaying her all-around abilities as they finished as co-champs and fell just one win shy of reaching the state tournament.
McKenna Peters, Tahoma, Sr., L
While the Bears had plenty of firepower, defense helped make the difference this season and it started with Peters, who was stellar at serve receive and defense, averaging more than four digs per set. She also was among the team’s best servers.
Kyle Hoglund, Lake Stevens
Hoglund, who was an assistant in the program from 2004-12 and returned as head coach in 2017, guided the Vikings to the WesCo 4A and Wes-King District titles and a state runner-up finish. They are an impressive 40-2 in league play the past three seasons.