Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 29, 1999)
JENNY VOSS IS NU’S first softball pitcher to make first-team all American. Voss, who has the been starting pitcher since her freshman year, said she doesn’t get
nervous calling the shots in a close game. “Pressure moments are just the chance for us to prove we’re a better team,” Voss said. “That’s what makes the play
ers what we are.”
II or years, many people have felt
_ Nebraska softball pitcher Jenny
| Voss was bionic.
How else could they explain her
ability to pitch 340 innings without any
side effects to her right arm or shoulder?
The All-American pitcher had consistently
thrown 300 pitches a day nearly every day for
many years without any complications.
Then all of a sudden this past summer, it hap
pened. She thought she had tom her rotator cuff.
Luckily, she hadn’t.
She returned in the fall to throw a no-hitter.
Then she was involved in a car accident during
Christmas break in which she injured her back.
It was the second major setback Voss had suf
fered since her 1998 All-America campaign, in
which she led the nation m wins and set numerous
During the rehabilitation process from both
injuries, Voss feared she wouldn’t be the same
pitcher when she came back, if she ever came
back. But those fears were never realized.
“From where I was at last year, I haven’t
dropped,’’ Voss said, “You would think, since I got
in the car accident and didn't get a chance to throw
much over break, (my pitching) would fade. But it
Angels definitely were watching over the
Ankeny, Iowa, native Dec. 23
Voss and her roommate and teammate Gmger
Taylor have that day clear in their mind, probably
They were on their way back to Lincoln from
Wichita Falls, Texas, only two minutes into their
trip, when Taylor, who was driving, hit a patch of
“We started spinning and then the tires hit the
curb and automatically flipped us two times, and
we landed upside down hanging from our seat
belts,” Taylor recalled. “We were scared out of our
minds. It was crazy. I guess we were so scared we
didn’t even scream or shout or say nothing.
“As soon as we were done, Jenny’s quote was,
‘OK, unfasten your seat belts and crawl out.’”
After they picked up their belongings and had
time to reflect, Voss turned to Taylor, hugged her,
and said, “I can’t believe our lives nearly came to
Said Taylor: “Everything was nearly finished
- softball, our education and our families. I think
that wreck brought us closer because we experi
enced death together.”
While that accident brought Taylor and Voss
together, it didn't do anything for Voss’ back. She
had to take time off from pitching after the acci
dent. She still has to spend extra time warming up
before she pitches.
That recovery wasn’t the first obstacle Voss
has had to overcome.
In the summer, Voss suffered what she feared
was a tom rotator cuff in her pitching shoulder, but
it turned out to be an impingement. That injury
took her away from her daily 300-pitch workouts.
But it also taught her a valuable lesson.
“The older I get, the more I leam that I can
control (pitchmg) as much mentally as I can phys
ically,” Voss said. “I think if anything, I could be at
a higher level than last year just because I've come
to a greater realization that pitching is probably 90
percent mental and 10 percent physical, rather
than 90 percent physical and 10 percent mental.”
The realization came to her after her first
game of the fall. It was a test game for Voss. She
hadn’t thrown in a while. If her shoulder was sore
, then she would be held out another six weeks.
“1 had to block out any problems I was hav
ing,” Voss said. “I just had to do whatever I could
without stressing my shoulder out.”
Voss threw a no-hitter. She’d been out of
action for weeks, had feared she’d be out for sev
eral more. And she threw a no-hitter.
For Coach Rhonda Revelle, that was good
news. Her ace was back to her old form. Last year,
Voss pitched 81 percent of NU’s total innings,
compiled a 40-9 mark and led the Comhuskers to
the College World Series.
That was before the injuries. But Revelle said
Voss had grown from each injury and become an
even better pitcher.
“I think the top of her game keeps gaining
momentum because she keeps getting smarter,”
Revelle said. “I think physically she is where she
is, and she’s even developing some more pitches.
But the key is she keeps getting smarter. A smarter
pitcher is a better pitcher.”
It started with her training. She has learned to
After throwing a school-record 295.1 innings
as a freshman and then increasing that to 340.1
inn mgs last year, she now realizes she can’t throw
300 pitches on her off days. That realization came
after the summer when she injured her shoulder.
Voss was throwing twice a day with her
younger sister, but it was too much too soon,
“She needed more rest after the season,”
Revelle said. “Of course she wasn’t around us, so
we couldn’t keep our thumb over her.”
But taking time off wasn’t natural for Voss.
She was always drilled that practice, practice,
practice would bring the results she wanted.
She started at an early age, pitching balls
against the family garage. As she grew older, she
continued to be a workhorse, leading her high
school team to a state championship her senior
Her first two seasons at NU were the same
way, pitching nearly every game. That will change
this year, Revelle said.
“We anticipate she won’t throw as many
innings, but we also feel she will be just as effec
tive as she always is,” Revelle said. “The reduction
in innings is by no means a statement in how
effective she will be.
“In fact, probably over the course of the year it
will help her stay fresh even toward the end. She
got tired last year. She didn’t know it then. As we
look back, the Big 12 weekend where she threw
four shutouts was her best weekend. We needed
about two less weeks of the season for her”
This season, Voss has a new catcher and new
responsibilities. With Ali Viola, Christie McCoy
and Jen Smith gone from last year’s squad. Voss
will have to take on more leadership. Taylor said
she has seen some changes in her roommate
“I think her leadership role has intensified
because we made it to the College World Series
last year, and she wants to get back again.” Taylor
said. “It’s getting all these newcomers that we
have, pumping them up and making them realize
we can get there just like last year.”
voss is just giaa sne is nere 10 compere in
another season after her December accident.
“I very firmly believe everything happens for
a reason,” Voss said. “Should we lia\e died that
day. it would have been for a reason. I am very,
very thankful and glad we didn’t, but 1 definitely
think it was telling me that the rest was good for
my shoulder. It was a blessing in disguise.”
Now that Voss is back and healthy, she is ready
to start the season Feb. 12 at the l iesta Bowl
Tournament in Tempe, Ariz.
“I feel good about where I am at right now,”
Voss said. “I could definitely go and be effective
in a game. My pitches are breaking well.
Everything physically is fine.”
Voss was fortunate, though. Not every pitcher
comes back like she has from a shoulder injury.
But that’s why she put herself through what she
did last year - it could’ve been her only chance.
“I knew I was throwing a lot and that I was
probably going to pay for it this summer, but I
loved every minute of it,” Voss said. 'I'd go back
and I’d throw over 300 innings last year. I would
never ever take that back for anything. Every
minute I was out there, regardless of if my shoul
der was hurting, I was just living it up. I was lov
Story by Darren Ivy
Photo by Sandy Summers
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