Volleyball team’s Nicole Schladt improves during first year


Sean Hastings

Freshman defensive specialist Nicole Schladt has 73 digs in 46 sets played this season. Schladt recorded a season high 12 digs against Cleveland State Sept. 11.

Sean Hastings, Assistant Sports Editor

For most freshmen starting their collegiate athletic career, that year is usually spent learning and improving for their next three years.

Freshman defensive specialist Nicole Schladt has not played in a lot of matches this year, but she said she has improved as the year has gone by.

“My biggest improvement would be my court awareness,” Schladt said. “I’d definitely like to work more on serve-receive.”

Schladt has seen action in 16 matches and 46 sets so far this season recording 73 digs and seven assists.

Schladt’s season high in digs came against Cleveland State on Sept. 11. In the Panthers’ losing effort in five sets 3-2.

Athletes who play at the collegiate level often times set goals for themselves and for Schladt, her goal is simple; she just wants to be the best that she can be.

This has been a learning year for Schladt as she has been looking up to the seniors on the team to guide her through her first year at Eastern.

“I look up to the seniors a lot,” Schladt said. “I think trust is a big thing on and off the court. I just know that when I’m playing with them that I can trust them to be there and have my back when I need them.”

All of the learning and growth that Schladt has made this year has helped her have a strong year so far.

“I’ve really enjoyed freshman year so far,” Schladt said. “I love my team and I love every chance that I get to play on the court.”

Even though Schladt has seen limited playing time, she adds depth to the Panther’s roster that helps them throughout matches according to coach Sam Wolinski.

“She has become consistent in her serve-receive and digging game,” Wolinski said. “She has become a lot more comfortable out on the court.”

Wolinski said her and assistant coach Peter Green have full confidence in what she adds to the back row and that it is great to be three deep in the defensive specialist and libero position.

Senior Stephanie Wallace is the team’s libero and freshman Anne Hughes is another defensive specialist for the Panthers.

Besides playing defense for the Panthers, Schladt said that she also focuses to be good on serve-receive, be loud and encourage her teammates while they’re out there.

Schladt said that she has learned how to play with a team better this year.

“I need to know their struggles and I learned discipline and how it affects everyone on the court, including myself, and that attitude is a big part of volleyball,” She said.

Schladt considers herself to be a very intense player when she is on the court, so staying relaxed is something she said she needs to focus on.

“I get very intense on the court and it shows that I play a lot better when I’m relaxed,” Schladt said.

Schladt and the rest of the Panthers will continue their Ohio Valley Conference schedule this weekend when they host Austin Peay on Friday and undefeated Murray State on Saturday.

The Panthers defeated Austin Peay two weeks ago, but fell to Murray State 3-0 and the Panthers will be looking to get some revenge.


Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]