Sometimes things do not go as planned, especially in the life of Veronika Jakubovie ’14. The Macalester senior women’s basketball player has dealt with a lot of adversity in her four-year college career – only the last two years of which have been in a Macalester uniform.
Nevertheless, Jakubovie has emerged for the Scots this season in the post during her senior campaign. Her team-leading 6.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game ranks ninth and fifth in the conference respectively. She is also second on the team in scoring, averaging 8.1 points per game.
While individual success has not translated to team success this season, it is only another bump in the road of Jakubovie’s hard-fought career.
Picking a College
The hardships began four years ago before Jakubovie even attended her first college class. Jakubovie was a standout basketball player at Maple Grove High School in Minnesota. In her senior year, she led her school to a 27-3 overall record and a top seed in the MSHSL Class AAAA Tournament, before being bounced by Wayzata in the state quarterfinals. After leading Maple Grove to one of its most successful seasons in school history, Jakubovie drew interest from many Division III colleges, including local MIAC schools. Her favorites were Macalester and St. Thomas, yet due to financial aid concerns, Jakubovie was forced to decide on Hamline.
“I was planning on going to Macalester, but my financial aid did not work out and Hamline offered me a lot of academic scholarships so I ended up making a last minute decision to apply and attend,” said Jakubovie. “I did not even consider going to Hamline until the summer before my freshman year.”
Jakubovie played sparingly in her freshman season at Hamline, appearing in only nine games. However, as a sophomore, she participated in 22 games, including four starts. She averaged 3.4 points per game for the Pipers, and also ranked first on the team with 31 total blocks. Ironically, her final game in a Hamline uniform was the season finale at Macalester, in which she totaled two points, two steals, and a rebound.
“Playing basketball at Hamline was a really good experience,” Jakubovie said. “I had the opportunity to meet and play with some really wonderful people and make some really good friends.”
Although life on the court for Jakubovie was fun, she still felt like she wasn’t gaining the entire student-athlete experience. She sought out a transfer to Macalester shortly before the beginning of her junior season.
“I chose to transfer to Macalester because the academic rigor at Hamline was not what I expected and felt that Macalester was a much better fit for me and what I wanted to accomplish,” Jakubovie said. Macalester head coach Ellen Thompson described how the entire process went down.
“The transfer process as per NCAA rules is strict,” Thompson said. “We had a 30 day open window after she filled out her release form. We communicated through email, phone and then she visited campus. It was a little awkward for her when she visited campus because my players knew who she was, but I didn’t tell them why she was visiting. Veronika didn’t want her Hamline team to know until she was sure she wanted to make the move.”
The transfer came at the perfect time for the Scots, who were desperately seeking help in the front court after the graduation of All-MIAC performer Holly Schiedermayer and career-ending injury to post Rebekah Keller.
When asked to compare the Snelling Avenue rivals, Jakubovie did not have much to say.
“Macalester and Hamline have very different atmospheres and cultures,” she said. “It is hard to even begin to compare them because they are so drastically different, which is kind of funny since they are only two miles apart.”
In Jakubovie’s first season as a member of the Scots, the team had a difficult time overcoming the loss of four senior starters from the prior year. However, Jakubovie was one of the team’s main contributors, starting 22 of 25 games at the post position. She averaged 8.7 points and 1.6 blocks per game, which ranked fourth in the MIAC last season.
“It was great having Veronika join our team last year,” senior guard Taylor Pike said. “We were definitely in a place where we needed someone with a big post presence since we had a very guard-heavy team coming back. It would have been great to have her here all four years but just having her for two years has been awesome.”
Off the court, life can be very busy for Jakubovie, who is an economics major and a mathematics and Hispanics minor. After graduation, she plans on either attending graduate school for economics or getting a job in the transfer pricing field.
Jakubovie also enjoys travelling and volunteering in her free time. This past summer, she interned at the Ministry of Economy in Bratislava, Slovakia. She also volunteers locally in the Twin Cities at organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Simpson Housing and Casa de Esperanza.
Ending on a Positive Note
This season has again been a struggle for the Scots, despite Jakubovie’s strong efforts. They own a 3-18 overall record and currently are tied for last place in the MIAC.
“This season is definitely not what you would dream of as your last season of college basketball,” Jakuboive said. “Things have not gone the way I would have liked them to, and often times that has been really frustrating. But I feel that it has definitely taught me more about dealing with adversity and the power of positivity thinking.”
There is that word again: Adversity. And it is something that Jakubovie has had to face a number of times in the last four years.
Next Wednesday, Jakubovie will play her final collegiate game at the Leonard Center on Senior Night. Despite the few successes on the court as a member of the Macalester women’s basketball team, Jakubovie is still able to reflect on her time at Macalester in an optimistic manner.
“My experience at Macalester has been great,” she said. “I really enjoyed playing on this team and all of the friends I made through basketball and the athletics community. I also feel that, academically, Macalester has exceeded my expectations. I am confident that it has prepared me for graduate school and a professional career by providing me with the skills and experiences that will help me excel.”