A Late Start Didn’t Slow Down Men’s Volleyball’s Jimmy Meinhart

During his career at Loyola, Meinhart has totaled 389 kills, 326 blocks and 583.5 points.

Fourth-year middle blocker Jimmy Meinhart had an uncertain path to reach this success with the Loyola men’s volleyball team. 

During his career at Loyola, Meinhart has totaled 389 kills, 326 blocks and 583.5 points. However, these achievements could’ve never happened if Meinhart decided to only pursue his education as a finance major, like he originally intended. 

After being spotted by the coaching staff during a high school tournament, the Ramblers reached out to Meinhart and asked him to be a part of the team.  

“I knew at that moment Loyola offered me I was going to take it,” Meinhart said. “It was a school I was considering. Great school, great people, great area.” 

His senior year of high school, Meinhart said he was leaning towards ending his volleyball career early. Loyola was on the map for Meinhart, who is originally from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, because of the proximity to his hometown. He planned to enroll only as a student.

But after the offer from Loyola, Meinhart decided to continue playing the sport he grew to love. 

“A light went off in my head, because I can play volleyball for this school that I love as well,” Meinhart said. 

Before college was a consideration, Meinhart’s career with volleyball started off slow. He began playing in seventh grade and only tried out for the team because his friends told him to try it, he said. 

At the time, Meinhart was playing baseball and basketball and only had time for volleyball because it was played during the offseason of the other two sports. As he played volleyball more, he learned the game better and enjoyed playing with the friends who pushed him to try something new. 

“I didn’t quite understand it at the time,” Meinhart said. “But the more I played it, the more I realized this was really fun and a competitive sport.” 

Going into his freshman year at Glenbard West High School, Meinhart’s passion for volleyball continued to grow, leading him to step away from baseball. His progression in high school allowed him to switch to playing volleyball full time his junior year while playing for his high school and the Future 18 Elite club team. 

Since he started playing later than his teammates at Loyola, Meinhart said he feels he missed out on key moments of development because he wasn’t playing volleyball early in his life. 

Meinhart said his first two years on Loyola’s team were the hardest for him because he had to put in more effort to get to where his other teammates were at. 

“I would say a lot of it was sort of learning some of the more basic stuff that maybe I didn’t quite have a good handle on at the time,” Meinhart said. 

However, after calling himself a “fast-learner,” Meinhart made up for this his first-year as a Rambler when he finished in 11th place nationally with an average of 1.09 blocks per set and was one of three players to appear in all 78 sets played in the 2021 season. 

A large part of this growth has been the philosophy Meinhart brings to the game, which he said has developed as he has gotten “a little older and a little wiser.”

“The thing I like to bring is sort of this consistency and just kind of this being unfazed by tough times and troubles and kind of taking it all in stride,” he said. “Being able to cut out the super low lows, focus on the highs and then when things are tough, being a rock for the team.”

As his final season with Loyola begins to come to an end and the squad prepares for the MIVA semifinals against Ohio State University Thursday, April 18, Meinhart said his teammates are his biggest inspiration to play his best in every match and he is proud to be representing Loyola on a national level. 

“This school is an amazing school,” Meinhart said. “The people here are amazing. The institution as a whole has been so great to me and all my teammates. Being able to represent that for four years as well is certainly an honor.” 

Christopher J. Henry contributed reporting to this article.

Featured image by Megan Dunn | The Phoenix

Andi Revesz

Andi Revesz