PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Through hard work and perseverance, Nicole Peterson, has become of the most decorated high school volleyball players in the nation.
The Jesuit High School senior is the MaxPreps 2015 national volleyball player of the year.
“When the reporter called from MaxPreps, he asked how I was feeling. I was like, ‘Honored. Speechless,'” said Peterson. “Because, I mean, this is basically all I’ve been working for. I mean, in my opinion, I believe it’s like the ultimate award you could possibly get. I didn’t expect it all.”
“I think it came about because last year she was the state player of the year as a hitter,” Mike Hughes, athletic director at Jesuit, said. “We graduated our great setter so we asked Nicole, ‘Can you move into setter?’ And she was again state player of the year as a setter so I think at the national level they saw: here’s an athlete, who’s first-team all-state; player of the year as a hitter; and then moves and is player of the year as a setter. And that diversity is stunning.”
But Peterson had to work harder than ever to help Jesuit capture its second straight volleyball state title this past season.
In 2014, something happened to Peterson during the second set of Jesuit’s volleyball state championship against Central Catholic.
“I was at the front row blocking like I always do,” said Peterson. “I was next to Jasmine Gross – she’s one of my really good friends – and we just went up for a double block, and I came down. She looked at me. She’s like, ‘Are you OK?’ I couldn’t move.”
Peterson convinced the trainer to help her get back into the state championship, and would return to help Jesuit defeat Central Catholic.
“So after state there was like a two week period [where] I didn’t do anything, because club starts two weeks after the tournament,” said Peterson. “I played a little bit but my knee didn’t really feel better.”
Peterson decided to get an MRI soon after.
“I did have a cartilage chip that pulled some meniscus,” she said. “So I had to get arthroscopic surgery to remove it.”
And after eight weeks of recovery, Peterson finally returned to her club team.
She currently plays for Excel Northwest in Vancouver, Wash.
“The state championships I will never forget, even the one that we lost in the semis [my sophomore year],” Peterson said. “That was probably one of the hardest matches I’ve played in high school.”
Peterson is also a four-year letter winner in tennis at Jesuit, where she specialized in doubles.
“We have three state championship team titles. My partner and I – I play with Danielle Larner she’s a year below me – we got second last year in doubles, and then the year before we got third.”
Peterson credits her teachers, coaches, teammates and parents for all of their support during high school.
“Everyone’s important and everyone has a job to do, and without them fulfilling what they have to do – I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Peterson.
Peterson will attend the University of San Francisco on a full-ride volleyball scholarship in the fall.