By Lisa Byers
After missing much of her junior season with an injury, Jackson returned for her senior year with a vengeance. She finished the campaign with 269 kills, 51 service aces, 286 digs and 27 blocks in 21 dual matches. Jackson led the Bulldogs to an 18-3 record and the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals. That and more were the reason she was named The Meadville Tribune's 2012 Girls Volleyball Athlete of the Year.
Season highlight: One of Jackson’s most impressive outings came late in the season in a Region 4 contest against Corry. Jackson, normally counted on for her play at the net, proved to be a vital asset elsewhere, tallying 19 assists to go along with 29 digs as the Bulldogs rallied for a crucial five-set win over the Beavers to keep pace with Conneaut for the Region 4 championship, which they wound up sharing.
What the coach says: About what many have overlooked about Jackson: “You look at her and she is totally deceiving. But she is smart and just one of the best natural passers that I have ever coached.”
About the Bulldogs without Jackson: “We definitely missed her last year. But we did the best we could without her. She is a difference maker. Overall statistics and the big picture ... Monica is very hard to replace. She has been a vital player for four years.” — Tammy Webber, Meadville head girls volleyball coach.
What we say: There were several candidates for the 2012 Meadville Tribune Girls Volleyball Player of the Year. But in the end it was Jackson who proved to have the biggest impact on her team this season.
Jackson’s junior season came to an end in mid-October after she broke her ankle. The Bulldogs had a decent season, finishing 12-7 overall and 11-3 in Region 3, but it ended prematurely in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals. This year, with Jackson completely healthy, the Bulldogs earned a share of the Region 4 championship, finished as the District 10 Class AA runner-up to eventual state champion Fort LeBoeuf and were PIAA Class AA quarterfinalists.
Jackson, who stands at just 5-foot-7, not only contributed to her team statistically, averaging 12.8 kills, 2.4 aces and 13.6 digs per match, but gave the Bulldogs another weapon for which teams had to watch out. That took some pressure off fellow outside hitter Leah Jones, who also had a career year.