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5A-4A volleyball co-athlete of the year: Nikki Glass, Pine Creek
Nikki Glass is razor sharp on the volleyball court. Just not always off it.
The Gazette’s Co-5A-4A Player of the Year led Pine Creek to a second straight 5A Metro League title and its first state final appearance while not shaving her legs during most of the season.
“I have a superstition where (if) you win one game, you can’t shave your legs before the next one,” Glass explained. “Some of the girls were like, ‘Eww, that’s gross.’ But we were like, ‘We won with the hair on our legs, we’re not shaving it off.’”
Must have worked. The Eagles finished 26-5 and a hair shy of a state championship. Not that coach Ashlynn Smith had any idea what was going on.
“I didn’t even know until we were having a conversation about it at regionals,” Smith said about the no-shave policy. “It’s an interesting one for sure. I did not participate, and I didn’t notice that the girls didn’t shave.”
What was noticeable was Glass’ hitting. Although somewhat short for a dominant hitter at 5-foot-10, the senior led 5A with 490 kills and was second in total attacks with 1,020.
“She is a very smart player,” Smith said. “She can find the place to put the ball. She sees the blockers really well, so she can see what’s open. And part of being a good volleyball player isn’t how tall you are or how high you can jump, it’s how you can adjust and see the whole court.”
Glass also led her team with 21 solo blocks and finished with 323 digs, second only to libero Sarah Kosbab.
“It’s nice to knowing girls that aren’t as big can be up there with those best players,” said Glass, who has signed to play next year at North Carolina State. “It just shows that if you work hard, you can play with the bigger players.”
And Glass had some bigger players on her team, in fellow Division-I signees Katherine Feldman (Wyoming) and Lindsay Weaver (Fairfield).
“It’s hard to stick out in a team that is second in the state, for sure,” Smith said. “And the fact that Nikki was able to do that really shows that she has amazing volleyball ability and personality on the court and skill all the way around.”
Glass plans to use her “encouraging” personality — as Smith described it — while studying to be a social worker when she hits the N.C. State campus in July. But for right now, she’s still savoring the Eagles’ historic season.
“It was so amazing,” she said. “Just to go out with a bang like that, even though we lost that final match. It was a great feeling knowing we were the best team ever and I love it. It was the best season ever.”