From the Track to the Volleyball Court

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Sentmore recorded her 1,000th career kills earlier this season.
Sentmore recorded her 1,000th career kills earlier this season.

Oct. 4, 2000

Who knew that a Louisiana high school track star would end up one of the most noted volleyball players in Tulane history? Senior Kim Sentmore has continually improved on her game and pushed herself to a new level each year. Not only has Sentmore excelled on the court, but she is pursuing a personal goal that hits close to home.

Watching Sentmore's All-Conference USA Second Team caliber performance last season, one would think that she had been around volleyball all of her life. However, Sentmore didn't take volleyball too seriously until her junior year in high school, as the two-time Louisiana long jump champion was focused on a track career. After suffering a torn ACL her senior year of high school Sentmore felt volleyball would be a better fit for her.

Sentmore began her collegiate volleyball career at Tulane in 1997. Her role was limited as a freshman, as she played in 21 of the season's 32 matches and recorded only 39 kills. This was a change for the volleyball star out of O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans who was named the district MVP just one year earlier. The extra time on the bench taught Sentmore valuable lessons.

"Spending a lot of time on the bench my freshman year taught me to overcome adversity, " said Sentmore. "It taught me to be strong mentally. I always played my hardest when I got a chance to play because I never knew when I would come out of the game."

With more time on the court in 1998, the southpaw was able to display her powerful swing and record both personal milestones and school records. She raised her previous year's total of 39 kills to 386, received All-Louisiana Sports Writer Association Second Team honors and tied the school record for digs in a match with 32 against Louisiana-Lafayette. Her first career triple-double was against cross-town rival New Orleans on September 16, of that season.

With each season Sentmore's success on the court continued as the 1999 brought her recognition on all levels. At one point in the season, Sentmore was second in the nation in kills per game, according to the NCAA Division I Volleyball Statistics. She finished the season in 11th averaging 5.74 per game. She recorded 533 kills in 1999, more than 13 times her freshman total. After leading C-USA in kills per game and finishing in third in digs per game (3.899), Sentmore received All-Conference USA Second Team honors.

"When Besty (Becker Ferrer) and her staff came in my junior year they started teaching me different skills," said Sentmore. "Before I was just raw talent and I needed to learn a lot of technical training such as passing and defense and hitting. They taught me how to break things down and they really helped me with my game."

So far this season, Sentmore leads the team with 193 kills, 124 digs and 14 service aces. In the first game of a match with New Orleans, Sentmore notched a kill that made her the sixth player in Tulane history to record 1,000 career kills.

"Besty didn't tell me until two or three days before she thought it was going to happen and I was surprised," Sentmore said. "I don't keep track of stats."

Sentmore also set a career high with 30 kills in that match, the third highest single match total in the program's history.

Sentmore is not only setting records on the court but she is also making an impact on her family's history.

"I don't know if they know it or not but they play a big role in my life," Sentmore said. "They are very supportive and rally around me, but they always tell me that ultimately I make the final decision. When I finish college I will have been the only person in my family to have a college degree."

Sentmore knows that her family wants her to be the best she can be and she thrives on those expectations. They support her in many ways but the most obvious is the small crowd that is in attendance at every home match.

"My mom, my dad my two sisters and all seven of my nephews come to the matches," laughs Sentmore. "They get on to me too. They say 'play some defense!'. I love it."

Thus far this season, the Green Wave has compiled a 7-6 overall record and is 1-2 in Conference USA play. Tulane hosted two tournaments in September, the Kathy Trosclair Invitational, and the Nokia Sugar Bowl Volleyball Classic. After hosting both tournaments the Wave was 5-1, marking its best start since 1994.

Sophomore Lindsey Bennett led the Wave to the Kathy Trosclair Invitational title and was named the tournament MVP for her performance. Tulane swept through the pool of opponents, not dropping a game all weekend. Other Greenies to receive all-tournament honors were Sentmore, Lauren Jones-McClain, Britney Hurst and Jennifer Witte.

In the Nokia Sugar Bowl Volleyball Classic, the Green Wave went 2-1 defeating in state rivals LSU and New Orleans. The three game sweep of LSU was Tulane's first victory over the Tigers since 1996, snapping a six-match Wave losing streak to LSU. In the tournament, Tulane won its third straight against UNO. The Green Wave's only loss of the weekend was to No. 15 Wisconsin.

Tulane also participated in the TCU Volleyball Invitational. The Wave went 1-3 in the tournament with a win over San Francisco. Jones-McClain received all-tournament honors.