How BYU volleyball star Veronica Jones-Perry ended up in Provo

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Veronica Jones-Perry digs a ball against Portland on Oct. 12, 2017. Jones-Perry led the team in kills. (Dani Jardine)

Veronica Jones-Perry was a senior in high school in 2014 when she was faced with the biggest decision of her life — where to spend the next four years playing volleyball.

Coaches from around the country were after the three-time MVP at Copper Hills High School in West Jordan, Utah.

Jones-Perry was seeking a university with a strong volleyball program and had narrowed it down to two schools: BYU and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

To help her decide, she went with her mother on an unofficial visit to BYU. After spending the day on a campus tour, she was walking back to the car with her mom contemplating her decision.

“We were walking out to the car after a great day and my mom told me in the parking lot, ‘Why didn’t you just commit? Go back in there and tell them you are going here.’” And Jones-Perry, who is not LDS, said “OK.”

As a freshman, Jones-Perry recorded 175 kills and only improved from there. She had 227 in 2016 and led the team with over 400 kills in 2017.

However, volleyball was not Jones-Perry’s first sport. As a young girl, she was on a competitive gymnastics team until her mother lost her job when she was 13. Their family could no longer afford the high cost of competing on the team, but this opened new doors.

“A couple of our friends told us that gymnasts made great volleyball players, and we weren’t sure why,” said Debra Jones, Jones-Perry’s mother. “So we decided to let her try out and participate in some of the open gyms in high school and she did, and it was just a thing after that.”

From there, things began to pick up for Jones-Perry.

“She did really well and got a scholarship to play on a club team,” her mother said. “After that, it was very clear this is something she was very good at. She just kept getting better and better.”

As Jones-Perry continued in the sport, she made a name for herself as a four-year starter.

She was named junior and senior captain, first-team all-region for three years and the club player of the year. Her mother attributes her daughter’s success to her natural and inherent drive to never give up.

When Jones-Perry’s mother was asked how she originally felt about the Mormon school – the family is not LDS – she said BYU was never in the cards.

For Jones-Perry, it wasn’t until she visited other schools that she quickly noticed a difference in the values at BYU.

“I just loved the atmosphere and the family orientation,” said Jones-Perry who is married to her high school sweetheart, Todd Perry. “I knew if I came here, my team was going to be a hard-working team that was focused on the right things,” she said.

BYU women’s volleyball coach Heather Olmstead had no doubts about Jones-Perry’s potential.

“We brought her in here knowing she had a good and fast arm, and that if we could train her to be mindful with her swings, we could definitely plan on her helping out the team,” Olmstead said.

So far this season, Jones-Perry has been the top scorer for the majority of BYU’s games.

“Her discipline and her drive are her greatest attributes; she just knows what she wants, and she goes to get it,” her mother said. “She is not afraid of hard work.”

Jones-Perry said she wants to continually improve. A team philosophy she lives by is to get one to two percent better every day and to stick to routines.

In the 2017 season, Jones-Perry had a career-high 34 kills against Loyola Marymount, which set a BYU record for most kills in a match, and she was named the WCC Player of the Week for the third time after the win and ESPNW’s National Player of the Week.

Senior teammate Cosy Burnett had only positive things to say about her teammate.

“Roni is the person you go to for advice on the team, she is always so constant, and that’s how she is as a player,” Burnett said. “She is a fighter and we are really lucky to have her.”

Jones-Perry has high hopes for the rest of the season and said she hopes to play professionally after her time in Provo.

“After BYU, I want to go play professionally, anywhere,” she said. “Just go see the world and play until I can’t.”

Jones-Perry said she is happy with her decision to come to BYU.

“I think about it all the time,” she said. “I’ll go to some of the schools that I thought I wanted to go to and it just makes me so grateful that I ended up here at BYU because I really don’t think there is a better place for me.”

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