Kirstine Jensen heads into her sixth season overall with the Northwestern volleyball program in 2013 and her second as the program's associate head coach. Wildcats head coach Keylor Chan announced the promotion of his top lieutenant in May 2012.
"Kirstine works extremely hard every single day and is an invaluable member of our program," said Chan. "She is a tremendous asset to not only the volleyball program and the athletic department, but the Northwestern University community. We are all thrilled to be able to reward her dedication and effort."
Jensen works primarily with the NU outside hitters and also coordinates the program's extensive recruiting efforts.
Jensen helped bring the Wildcats to the cusp of postseason play in 2013. Northwestern improved its Big Ten ledger by three wins, including a two-match sweep of nationally-ranked Purdue and a thrilling five-set victory over in-state rival Illinois, another team that was nationally recognized in 2013. The associate head coach helped Stephanie Holthus, the program's all-time leader in kills, receive All-America accolades for a second consecutive season last year.
The 2012 Wildcats put up some of the most efficient attacking numbers in program history under Jensen's tutelage. Northwestern finished the season with only 597 hitting errors, the fewest total ever and the first time ever below 600. The 'Cats attacked at a clip of .218 during the campaign, the fifth-highest rate ever. One of her top pupils, outside hitter Stephanie Holthus, collected All-Big Ten and AVCA All-Mideast Region honors as she continued her climb up the all-time chart in several statistical categories. Holthus' 487 kills in 2012 were tied for fifth in program annals, while her mark of 4.27 kills per set ranks third in school history.
In 2011, Jensen's third season on the bench, Northwestern broke out to its best start in 14 years. The Wildcats rattled off five wins to begin the season, one shy of the previous best start that came in 1997. In addition, the 'Cats did not drop a set in their first 15 played, a feat that had not been duplicated since 1984. Northwestern posted wins over three top-25 opponents in 2011, including a monumental victory against No. 2 Nebraska at Welsh-Ryan Arena in the regular season finale.
During Northwestern's 20-win season and NCAA Tournament appearance in the round of 32 season in 2010, Jensen guided a pair of NU newcomers to 300-kill campaigns. Holthus won an All-Big Ten Freshman Team nod after she finished third on the team with 332 kills while transfer graduate student Christina Kaelin added exactly 300 terminations for the Wildcats' attack.
The majority of the Northwestern outside hitters experienced career-best seasons in 2009, thanks in part to Jensen's guidance. Ariel Baxterbeck especially had a breakout season, notching 228 kills with 53 blocks. Alex Ayers and Brittani Gray each recorded over 100 kills a piece on the season while also combining for 48 blocks up front for the 'Cats.
Outside of Northwestern, Jensen worked with the USA Volleyball High Performance A2 program in the summer of 2010.
An Aurora, Ill., native, Jensen spent four years with the Northern Illinois Huskies, the first three as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach before the 2008 season. Working mainly with the outside hitters and defensive personnel, NIU finished 18-14 in her final season, including a 9-7 record in the Mid-American Conference, and advanced to the second round of the MAC tournament.
Prior to her time in DeKalb, Jensen spent three years as an assistant coach at Florida State from 2002-05, and also worked as an assistant coach at Ohio University from 2000-2002. She began her coaching career at Northern Illinois, serving as a volunteer assistant coach from 1997-2000 while working towards her master's degree in kinesiology and physical education.
A 1997 graduate of Ohio State University, Jensen was a four-time scholar-athlete for the Buckeyes, racking up 655 kills and helped lead Ohio State to the NCAA Final Four as a junior in 1995. Her career .260 hitting percentage also ranks in the top-20 of the Buckeye record books. Jensen graduated magna cum laude from OSU with a bachelor's degree in speech and hearing sciences.
Jensen married Tim Bimmerle in June 2012. Bimmerle is a teacher's aid at Metro Prep, a special education school in Arlington Heights, Ill. The couple has a son, Jaxen, and the family resides in Morton Grove, Ill.