When the Fayetteville (Texas) Lions take the court, they’re rarely the bigger school.
A small but mighty force, the Class 1A team is fierce, and leading the pack stands Brooklyn Jaeger, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter who has claimed the nation’s top spot in kills.
In Tuesday’s match against Round Top-Carmine, Jaeger added a season-high 50 kills, bringing her total to 769. That’s nearly 100 more than the nation’s second highest leader in 2022, according to MaxPreps.com, and in last Friday’s win against Mumford, Jaeger passed 3,000 career kills. Currently, it stands at 3,055.
“At first, thinking about it, it was crazy. But now, it feels like nothing special. It’s just a number,” said Jaeger, whose accomplishments earned her JWS Player of the Week honors. “I’m not going to let that get to my head.”
CONGRATULATIONS to senior, Brooklyn Jaeger for reaching her 3,000th high school career kill! The Lady Lions and Fayetteville ISD are proud of you and your accomplishment! pic.twitter.com/TgCbSNiwXB— Fayetteville ISD (@FayettevilleIsd) October 10, 2022
CONGRATULATIONS to senior, Brooklyn Jaeger for reaching her 3,000th high school career kill! The Lady Lions and Fayetteville ISD are proud of you and your accomplishment! pic.twitter.com/TgCbSNiwXB
Lions coach Clint Jaeger, also Brooklyn’s father, says while she might not take note of it, everybody else does.
“Everybody notices it. It’s a big number. She has 3,055 career kills. That’s unheard of,” he said. “She doesn’t get as much credit for her passing, her back row. … The kills get most of the attention, but I think the back row, and the amount of digs she has, she has as many digs as some liberos.”
So far this season, Brooklyn leads the team in digs (447) and blocks (32) and has also tallied 85 aces, the third highest on the team.
Brooklyn started officially playing volleyball in sixth grade, but she started playing around when she was in pre-kindergarten.
“When I was little, it wasn’t my favorite thing. I loved basketball,” Brooklyn said.
When Brooklyn started playing, coach Jaeger started learning. Fayetteville needed a volleyball coach, and Clint, who was already coaching baseball, stepped up.
As Brooklyn grew to love volleyball, so did Clint. They’ve become quite the dynamic duo. Last year, the father-daughter pairing helped lead Fayetteville (46-2) to its first state championship in volleyball.
This season, they hope to do the same, as the Lions are first in their district (4-1) with four matches remaining in the regular season.
“We’ve been talking about it all year. We only lost two players last year,” Brooklyn said. “We got a setter this year, but from the beginning of the year, our chemistry is still there.”
Next year, Brooklyn will take her talents south to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The campus is already somewhat familiar to Brooklyn, as her uncle went there, and she remembers taking trips down to visit. She says she’d always fill out recruiting forms, and then, one day, they reached out to her.
“They don’t just care about you as a player, but they care about you as a person,” she said.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Brooklyn Jaeger (@brooklynjaeger7_vball)
A post shared by Brooklyn Jaeger (@brooklynjaeger7_vball)
That sentiment echoes Brookyln’s personal life. Despite her record-breaking stats, she doesn’t want it to be her sole legacy at Fayetteville. She’s the only one on the team who plays club volleyball, and she uses her experience to help her teammates grow on and off the court.
“They’re hitting the right shots,” Brooklyn said. “Just seeing that makes me feel better because knowing I helped somebody out and helped them reach a goal they’ve always wanted is nice.”
They’re not just stats. She’s fostering a culture at Fayetteville.
“We’ve got little girls here who are bumping, and they’re loving the court,” Clint said. “The girls here now love volleyball.”
Nika Anschuetz is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @nlanschuetz.