Winning the arms race; Jordyn Moquin is The Observer’s Female Athlete of the Year

“Some pitchers can give a look or throw their arms in the air if a player makes a mistake or an error,” said Bores. “Jordyn was always positive. She’d say something like, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll get the next one.’ There was never any negativity from her demeanor, her body language, or her words. Everything was always so positive.”

Her commitment to her teammates is what set Moquin apart. Coach Rich Heitz called her the ‘ultimate team player.’ When Heitz was looking for somebody to guard the middle on his volleyball team, Moquin rose to the challenge. Even though she had her heart set on a defensive position, she stepped in to a mismatched position just to help out her team.

Despite her size disadvantage, the 5-foot-8 Moquin anchored the Knights in the middle for two seasons. As a junior, she collected 19 blocks and 23 kills. As a senior, she scored 13 blocks and 20 kills.

“She realized that it wasn’t a natural fit, but she would do whatever it took to help the team. She just wanted to be on the court,” said Heitz. “She’s athletic. She’s a strong server, and she’s a hustler. She’ll go for any ball. Even when she’s going up against a 6-foot-1 kid, she’ll give it her all to try to get a touch on the ball to slow it down so that her teammates can get a touch on it.”

Unlike most middle defenders Moquin was versatile enough to stay in the rotation, even in the back row. In both her junior and senior seasons, she finished among the top seven in serving, digs, and assists. Moquin could do it all.

“I never heard her complain about her role. She was always ready to play wherever she was needed whether it was the back row, serving, or playing that middle position. She’s a great player to have on a team,” said Heitz. “Maybe it was because of all of her pitching, but she could react so well. As a pitcher, she had to constantly defend herself when somebody was lining one back at her, so she could read and react so well to get a touch on the ball.”

Once again, Moquin’s team rose to the top of their sport. As a junior, she played an important role as Southington’s postseason rally finished just one victory from a state title. In a five-game series, Moquin held her own against Newtown’s larger lineup.

“One of her best games was in that state championship game,” said the coach. “We knew that we’d have to get more out of our middles, and she went in there and gave it her all. She had a nice game. She did whatever we could ask for with two or three kills and a couple of key touches on the ball.”

As a senior, Southington returned to the final four before losing to Darien in a hard-fought semifinal contest where all but one game was decided by two points. Darien went on to capture the state title in a 3-0 shutout, so Southington was the only team to steal a postseason game from the eventual state champions.

Moquin wasn’t a captain, but Heitz said that her leadership was instrumental with Southington’s young squad.

“I always like to see the maturity level of our seniors, and she brought a lot of it,” said Heitz. “In practice, she was always positive and always smiling. That’s one of the things that I’m going to miss the most about Jordyn. No matter how bad things were going, she was always easy going and supportive of her team and the captains. I think that she led by example, and I could see the respect that her teammates had for her.”

Still, it was in the softball circle that Moquin quieted any critics, and her senior season was the perfect ending for her stellar career. As pitcher, she set the tone for Southington’s play. As a hitter, she drove in more runs (37) than she gave up on the mound (10). As a leader, she helped keep the poise that was missing in her junior year.

“She’s earned her place in history because she got us to the state finals twice, and there aren’t a lot of girls that have done that,” said Bores. “She wasn’t the fastest pitcher that I’ve ever had. She wasn’t our most athletic pitcher, but I’ll tell you that we haven’t had a tougher pitcher mentally. She went out there, took the ball, and there were never any excuses. She worked her tail off every day. She didn’t cheat herself, her coaches, or her teammates. She gave every ounce of her ability every single day—in practice and in games.”

It was enough to earn her the respect of her teammates. It was enough to lead the Knights to their 15th state title in softball. For her outstanding athletic achievements, versatility, and leadership, Jordyn Moquin is The Observer’s 2012 Female Athlete of the Year.

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@southingtonobserver.com.

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