10 Questions with Nikki Kinzer

By MJ Arjomandi published September 20, 2012

GoMountainLions.com caught up with Nikki Kinzer of Colorado Springs, Colo., for 10 questions with the Senior middle blocker from the UCCSvolleyball team. The Mountain Lion's are set to host their first conference games of the season this weekend as the take on Black Hills State on Friday, Sept. 21 and Chadron on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Gallogly Events Center.  

1. Did you do anything exciting this past summer?                                                                                                            

   I just worked, worked out, and climbed a fourteener this past summer. Nothing too exciting.

2. How did you first get involved with volleyball?                                                                                                              
I started volleyball in 7th grade. I actually had never played before trying out for the team and was cut in 7th grade. I tried out again in 8th grade and started playing club that year. After I started playing club, I began to really enjoy the sport and various coaches began to see my potential.

3. What has been the greatest moment in your volleyball career?                                                                              
The greatest moment of my volleyball career was my senior year of high school when we beat Doherty 17-15 in the fifth set for the league championship. The stands were packed and the game couldn't have been closer. My team went on to finish third in the state but that specific game will always be the game I remember most from my entire career.

4. What will it mean for the volleyball team to make the post season this year?                                                    
We've been talking for the three years I've been here about making the NCAA tournament but we understand the hard work that it's going to take to get there. That is our ultimate goal but we are focusing on taking the right steps to make it to the post season. If we do make it, I can't even begin to imagine the sense of accomplishment we will have because it has been such a huge ambition of ours for years.

5. Similarly, what would it mean for the team to host a post season game at UCCS?                                                  
Being able to host a post season game would be huge. We LOVE playing on our home court in front of our home crowd. So if we can do that in the post season, that would be amazing.

6. What is the biggest difference from you freshmen to your senior year?                                                                      
I think I've just become so passionate about the sport and my teammates in my four years of college volleyball. I have really come to understand the value of the team and that fact that we can't win without the contributions of all 14 girls every day in practice. Although our team this year is very young and we are only returning 5 players from last year, our team has gelled so well in the past 2 months and i feel so blessed to play alongside them every day

7. What are your plans after you graduate?                                                                                                                  
After I graduate, I hope to become a high school or middle school English teacher. I hope to impact young students and make them passionate about learning like I have learned to do over the years.

8. What does it mean to be a student athlete at UCCS?                                                                                                       

I feel so lucky to be a student athlete at UCCS because of the close-knit community that is apparent all over campus. The support from the athletic department, faculty and other students is really special. The rate of growth of the university also makes me super excited to see where my Alma Mater will be ten years down the road.

9. You transferred from Boulder...can you talk a little bit about why you transferred to UCCS, and what the major differences are from there to here, either in terms of volleyball or actual institution, or both?                                        

 I transferred from Boulder mainly for volleyball reasons. It just wasn't what I was looking for in a program and I knew Keith Barnett from high school and recognized that he was possibly one of the best coaches I've ever played for. There is a huge difference between Division I and Division II sports, but I feel that I actually have time to be a regular student and get my work done at UCCS, while at Boulder I felt like volleyball was my main priority and I had to be in the gym all day if I wanted to play. I loved Boulder as an institution but I see similar qualities at UCCS and recognize that we are moving up to the size and reputation of Boulder every year. I love the fact that there are smaller class sizes at UCCS because I have made some valuable relationships with several faculty members that will help down the road in my search for a teaching job.

10. You are steadily moving up the all-time leader board for records at UCCS. You currently ranks No. 8 all-time in the rally scoring era (since 2001) for solo blocks, and needs just eight more to find yourself in second. You are also currently ranks No. 2 all-time in block assists in the rally scoring era, needing just 11 more to be No. 1. Are these records anything that you ever think about? and if so, what do these records mean to you?                                            

 I honestly don't really think about these records, although I do feel very honored to be recognized alongside various athletes from UCCS volleyball's history. Every time i step on the court, I try to earn every point for my team so that we can accomplish our goals and compete to the best of our ability. Without the rest of the blockers at the net, I would probably have about half as many block assists and without our defense and setters, I wouldn't have near as many kills so they deserve just as much credit for the records as I do.

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