It didn't take long for Jessica Worden to make her presence known at the helm of the UMD women's tennis program. In just her second season with the Bulldogs, she directed her troops to a 9-13 record (after going 3-14 the previous spring) and its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament berth in seven years (UMD tied for fifth in the final league standings). Those nine wins last spring were the most accumulated by a Bulldog club since the 2009 season.
In addition, UMD produced two 2017 All-NSIC honorable mention performers in juniors Shelby Benkofske and Kelsey Zetah (the first two Bulldogs to attain All-NSIC acclaim of any kind in five seasons) and five NSIC All-Academic Team honorees. The Bulldogs also were the recipients of the inaugural UMD Team Impact Award for outstanding community service as they averaged 22.0 volunteer hours per player during the 2016-17 school year.
During Worden's debut season with the Bulldogs, Kaitlin Wohnoutka was the recipient of UMD's Top Female Scholar-Athlete Award, a UMD tennis first.
Worden was hired as UMD's head tennis coach on Nov. 9, 2015 after having spent the better part of the previous decade coaching at various Minnesota high schools. The Buffalo, Minn., native is also currently the girls and boys head coach at Hermantown High School. She oversaw the Hawk girls program for four years (2007-11) before heading to the Twin Cities where she assumed the Minneapolis South High School girls' head coaching position in 2012 and was the junior varsity boys coach at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School from 2011 to 2013. In the fall of 2013, Worden returned to Hermantown High School to once again coach the Hawk girls (landing herself the Section 7A Coach of the Year Award that season) and that spring she took on those same duties with the Hermantown boys.
In addition to her high school coaching, Worden was also a women's tennis volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater, the College of St. Scholastica, during the 2014-15 season and has served as a tennis professional at the Longview Tennis Club in Duluth (2007-11 and 2013), the Bainbridge Athletic Club in Bainbridge Island, Wash. (2009-10) and the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas (2008-09).
Worden was a four-year letterwinner at St. Scholastica and competed in three NAIA National Tournaments with the Saints (2004, 2006 and 2007). She also helped lead St. Scholastica to four consecutive Upper Midwest Athletic Conference team titles and, as a senior in 2007 was selected the UMAC Player of the Year after capturing the league's No. 1 singles crown. Worden, a two-time All-UMAC honoree (2007 and 2006), amassed a 48-33 singles record and a 51-24 doubles mark as a Saint and both of those victory totals were, at the time, the third highest in program history.
A member of the United States Professional Tennis Association, Worden graduated from St. Scholastica in 2007 with a B.A. degree in management and marketing. She and her husband, Matt, reside in Duluth.