Now Serving, Jake Fleming

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
May, 2018
Article Body: 

Coming from a volleyball family, it was inevitable that Norwood’s Jake Fleming would eventually take part in the sport himself. His father and sister Emma (a Norwood alumni) play, and his mother is an assistant coach for Plymouth South.
In addition to playing volleyball with his family members, Fleming joined a club team in the eighth grade and eventually stopped playing basketball so that he could concentrate on his commitment to volleyball.
Despite his familiarity with the sport, the now Norwood senior, didn’t know what to expect at his freshman year. During tryouts, he just took to the court and did what he was capable, which obviously was good enough for Coach Paul Nimblett.
“Jake is a very versatile player and an outstanding server,” Nimblett said. “He has grown stronger and smarter over the years and has one of the best volleyball IQ’s I have ever coached.”
Over the past few years, Fleming, who according to Nimblett, is a powerful hitter, has led the team in just about every offensive category, despite his size; he’s about 5’ 10” – 5’ 11”. In the team’s first game of the season against Wellesley, Fleming led the team in kills (17), service points (15), aces (10) and digs (9). The Norwood Coach loved his play on the court so much that he has been a team captain for three years; something that doesn’t happen all that much on the varsity level.
“He not only loves the game, but brings something to the court each time he steps on it,” Nimblett said. “The other players all look up to him, even the older ones, because of the experience he brings.”
As a freshman, Fleming began as the team’s libero (defensive specialist), was moved to setter a few games into the season, and then in the middle of his sophomore campaign was once again moved, to outside hitter. Whatever position he was asked to play, Fleming was more than willing to take on.
“I had played both libero and setter on my club team so it really wasn’t all that different to me," Fleming said. "As a libero you’re passing and as a setter you needs to get to the ball and set the play in motion. Having some great setters on the team, the coach figured I’d be an asset as an outside hitter although I had never hit competitively.”
Although he was willing and able to take on the three positions, once he stepped onto the court he had to focus specifically on what position he was playing.
“Having been a libero, a setter and now an outside hitter, I have to learn to stay in my current role,” Fleming said. “I still have the urge to go after balls that I shouldn’t be going after. When I do, my setter lets me know I’m in his territory.”
In addition to playing club and high school volleyball, Fleming began playing beach volleyball last summer in Newport to improve his on-court volleyball skills.
“In beach volleyball, there are only two people so you need to get to every ball, and although the courts are smaller, there is still a lot of ground to cover,” Fleming said. “I’ve gotten better playing in the sand, but it took a toll on me the first time I played. Playing beach volleyball I need all three skills (passing, setting and hitting).”
As Fleming enters his fourth and final season playing volleyball for Norwood, he has already been named a Bay State League All Star the past two seasons. And while hoping to once again be named to the All Star squad once again, he would much rather earn a spot in the State Tournament.
“The team is looking better every day and I would really like to make the State Tournament as we have never done that,” Fleming said. “Making the tournament would be a crazy experience for the team.”
When the season comes to an end and Fleming graduates from Norwood High, he is looking to continue his volleyball career. Although he has not selected where he will be in the fall, he is leaning toward South Carolina, where the weather is warmer and in addition to college volleyball, he can also play beach volleyball.