Junior Volleyball Player leads as Team Captain

Tyree Berry, Staff Writer

As she sits in the training room the athletic trainer wraps her thumb; a thousand thoughts are going through her head. Stuff block, spike, kill shot, facial, making plays all over the court. Nicole Rafay, captain of the women’s volleyball team, is in the zone as “Function” rattles through her Beats By Dr Dre headphones. It’s game time.

Number 13 has made a name as one of the top athletes on the team. Assigned the role of team captain as a junior, Rafay expects big things from her teammates. A young roster consisting of only ten players and one senior, the team’s only focus is advancing to the playoffs. All eyes are on Rafay to lead her team through all adversity to silence the critics.

This season, Rafay has 95 kills, 105 assists with 35 blocks.

“I don’t pay attention to all the little things,” said Rafay. “I go out there with my team and do whatever I can to help us get a victory.”

Accompanied on the court by her sister, Jessica Rafay, this dynamic duo can play any position on the court.

“She takes a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Nicole. “If I’m not in the right spot at the right time, I can count on her to make a big time play.”

The two siblings are the tallest on the team, maxing out at 5’10” and are a force to be reckoned with.

“Our goal as a team is to improve throughout the season,” said Nicole. “Only the best teams belong in the playoffs, and we want to make a big statement. Making some noise this year in the playoffs would be a huge accomplishment for me as a first year captain.”

Halfway through the season, beginning tougher league play, the Grizzlies have a winning record of 5-4.

According to Coach Tang, Nicole Rafay is a leader on and off the court, who also excels in the classroom.

“I work hard in the classroom because I know it will pay off in the end,” said Nicole. She is currently enrolled in two advancement placement classes, three honor classes, and is affiliated with the AVID program. “I’m wise enough to realize school is everything for my future,” she said. “I am a student first, volleyball is my second priority.”

Rafay plans to play volleyball at the collegiate level and continue her education at a Division 1 school. Her top college choices include the University of Arizona, University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount, Utah State, and hometown local school UNLV.