This student athlete came from a family of track and field athletes but found her niche in volleyball. Senior Nickeisha Williams is an outside hitter for the Cal State Northridge Matadors, aiding them with their 4-2 record in Big West play.
Williams has played 38 sets out of the 16 matches she has competed in. She is averaging 1.62 points and 1.45 kills per set. In a five-set contest against Fresno State, Williams scored 10.0 points for the Matadors. She has earned eight kills in three matches and made a season-high of five digs when CSUN battled against Saint Mary’s Gaels on September 9.
Last season, Williams had a season-high of 12 kills and averaged 1.65 kills per set. She is a kinesiology major with a 3.41 GPA; Williams studies exercise science. Her favorite class required her to have a “patient,” in which she would have to heal them through stretches.
“I would go to class for an hour and [we’d] do stretches on that patient and try to get them better,” Williams said.
She took the course last semester; currently, she is an intern of the class and has a patient Mondays through Thursdays.
Prior to competing for the Matadors, Williams played beach and indoor volleyball at El Camino College. Beach volleyball improved her vertical and overall aggressiveness. Williams recalled a game against Bakersfield College as a memorable moment.
“We were down and we were about to lose the game,” she said. “I just started hitting the ball like crazy, they set five balls in a row and I took all five of them with huge blocks on me, we went the fifth set.”
In 2015, El Camino had a 26-3 overall record with Williams’ help. She became a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s (AVCA) All-American Second Team and the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) All-State Second Team.
While she attended Narbonne High School, Williams aided the Gauchos in having the best record in the Marine League from 2010-2013. As a senior, she placed on the Division I All-City first team and graduated with a 3.60 GPA.
Williams mentioned how playing on the collegiate level went from a challenge to a learning experience.
“I jumped high and I hit hard, but once you get to the college level, it’s not all about jumping high and hitting hard anymore,” she said. “It was hard at first, the level of play was like super faster and the players are bigger, you have a bigger block … so I had to learn how to hit around the block.”
Standing at 5’10”, Williams worried that opponents might underestimate her ability.
“What helped me overcome that is just working hard everyday at practice,” Williams said. “I’m [going to] hit the ball hard … so next time [they] try to block me, they won’t take me for granted.”
To balance schoolwork with athletics, Williams practices time management and visits the library daily.
“I feel like I can’t really waste time not doing school work or I’m [going to] fall behind,” she said. “Every chance outside the gym that I get, I try to work on a class and do book work.”