Volleyball star discusses leadership

Nicole Frias spikes the ball while playing at NYU's Violet Classic in September at Coles Sports Center.

Star volleyball player Nicole Frias was named Athlete of the Week on Sept. 22 by NYU Athletics for her superior play at the NYU Violet Classic on Sept. 19 and 20.

Frias is a Gallatin junior who recently transferred from Liberal Studies. Sufficiently fulfilling the student end of her student-athlete title, she studies photography, journalism, human rights and social justice. To distinguish herself even further, Frias has started  on the team all three years since coming to NYU.

Frias gave a glimpse into the delicate balance between academics and athletic performance.

“Mondays we don’t have practice, but we lift,” she said. “Tuesdays and Thursdays we don’t get out of the gym until 10 p.m. We practice two or sometimes three times a day in the two training weeks in the summer.”

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The second she joined the volleyball team freshman year, she felt she belonged.

“The girls on the volleyball team were absolutely great,” she said. “They were constantly asking me if I wanted to get dinner, or if I wanted to go get coffee. Anyone who’s ever been on a sports team can tell you that it’s like a family.”

Frias also emphasized how close-knit the locker room feels.

“It’s definitely relaxing to be able to come back after practice and just chill after having been so intense getting ready, getting on our gear before practice and getting in the right mindset,” she said. “In my freshman year there was a lot of tension from some players who weren’t fully invested. Now, everyone has sort of bought in, and the mindset is to work hard and stay focused through the whole year.”

CAS senior Katie Robinson lauded Frias’ behavior on and off the court.

“On the court, Nicole lights on fire when games are close,” Robinson said. “I can trust her to put the ball down when we really need a point against a competitive team. Off the court, Nicole always has a smile on her face. She just radiates positivity and happiness. She’s always welcoming to new players and is a great friend.”

As for this year’s team, Frias acknowledged that they are off to a slower start than last year’s squad, which made it to the second round of the NCAA playoffs.

“Making it to the NCAA tournament was so cool, the best memory I’ve had since being on the team here,” she said. “This year we’ve already lost more games than we did last year, but it’s important to set the building blocks for the rest of the season and stay optimistic.”

Frias also highlighted how enjoyable it is to be a part of something, and how much it means to her to be looked at as a leader.

“I just want to be able to set the bar high for the teammates … who sort of look up to me,” Frias said. “I know I’m not the captain or the coach, and I don’t have the authority to boss people around, but communication in volleyball is key, and I think that is something that has grown so much since I came here as a freshman.”

Frias is from San Francisco originally, but has found that she loves being in New York City.

“I just love the city, and I don’t care how cliché that sounds,” she said. “New York has so many places where its students can go, you know? There’s not just Bobst, or your dorm. There’s restaurants, cafes, study lounges in every dorm, there’s anything you could ever want.”

Frias will be with her team in Atlanta, Georgia, this weekend as the Violets compete in a University Athletic Association Round Robin against the University of Chicago, Brandeis University and Washington University.

This article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 2 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]

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