Augustine breaks school record

There is a spot in the top left corner of the volleyball court that women’s volleyball senior captain Jules Augustine said she loves to hit. She has hit it for four years now, to the tune of 1,025 kills, good for the most in team history.

Augustine logged eight kills against Bridgewater State University on Oct. 27 to break the record. She added 10 more against Clark University on Oct. 29 to bring it up to her current total.

The senior middle blocker hit for 248 kills this year, averaging 2.73 per set. The Lions as a team averaged just over 11 kills per set this season. Augustine contributed 24.7 percent of those, helping her team to a winning 17-11 record in 2016.

Augustine attributed her accomplishments to her versatility on the court.

“I’d like to say I have a good shot list,” she said. “It’s very known to other teams to block that angle so I can’t hit my normal shot. So, when that happens and teams start to key in on my favorite spot, I like to think I’m adjustable and that I can move it around until they stop. Then I can hit my normal spot again.”

When Augustine’s sweet spot is open, it is her first target. She said if the ball is set quickly to her, the opposition usually doesn’t get there in time.

Sophomore setter Moira Brennan led the Lions in assists with 918 this fall. Naturally, many of those assists were to Augustine. Brennan said she tries to move the ball to Augustine when she has the opportunity. 

“Jules is such a great hitter that, when she’s out on the court, she demands the ball,” she said. “She’ll never be like, ‘Oh, you have to set me,’ but the way she plays makes me want to set her a lot. It’s so nice to know that whenever I give her a set, even if it’s crazy and bad, she’ll put it away anyway.”

Brennan also noted that Augustine’s presence is game changing.

“She’s a player that you really notice when she comes back in, especially if we’re in a tough game,” Brennan said. “Against Babson, she came into the game clapping and was really like, ‘Come on, let’s step it up a little bit.’ The way she speaks and controls herself on the court [makes it] really comforting to be out there with her.”

Though Augustine now owns the school’s all time record, freshman outside hitter Bella Edwards led the team in kills this year. Edwards, who hit 268 in her first season with the Lions, said Augustine is a motivating figure on the team.

“When she goes up for the ball, she totally gives it her all,” Edwards said. “You can see that in her, and it inspires me to do the same thing. When I’m feeling down as a player, or just tired, I’ll look at her and she’s performing well like she always does. She’s a really consistent player.”

Augustine, a visual and media arts major, said that, as a freshman, she never imagined she would one day hold this record.

“I didn’t know it was a thing,” she said. “I knew it was 1,000 points for basketball, but I didn’t know they kept those kinds of stats for volleyball. My freshman year, I was happy to be playing, let alone thinking about this.”

Even as she drew closer to the 1,000-kill mark, Augustine said she never wanted to put pressure on herself.

“I really didn’t think it was even possible until this year, until I got to about 930 kills,” she said.  That’s when I started thinking, ‘Oh my God, I can do this. I can actually pull it off.’”

Augustine turned it up a notch this season. Through her first three years, she averaged 2.57 kills per set, giving her 777 kills in her career prior to this semester. This season’s 2.73 ratio raised her career average by .06.

Though a difference of .06 doesn’t sound like much, it was the difference between her and the all-time leaderboard. If she produced at her three-year career average again this season, she would have just enough to top the 1,000-career milestone, but would fall seven kills short of the previous record set by Erin Connolly in 2010.

Augustine’s 1,025 kills now stand ahead of Connolly’s 1,008. Lauren Zaniboni, who played from 2008 until 2011, is now third in women’s volleyball program history with 1,006 kills. 

Statistics as of the end of Emerson’s regular season. Augustine’s stats from the ECAC tournament are not included because they were compiled after the deadline for this story.