Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nicole Fawcett and Penn State
Congratulations to Nicole Fawcett and Penn State's volleyball team for winning the Division I College Volleyball title.

I'll admit to doing a bit of name dropping here. Nicole played her high school ball at Ben Logan, which is on the border of Logan and Hardin County. When I was a rookie sports writer in Kenton, I covered Ben Logan's trip to the state's regional tournament. Her father, Bob, was the coach. He was just a great guy and he was very helpful to me, especially considering I didn't completely get volleyball at the time.

But his daughter had one of the strongest hits I have ever seen. I've covered volleyball a lot in recent years and seen a number of strong players. But until you've heard the "SMACK" of a Nicole Fawcett kill, you can never understand how strong the 6-foot-2 player was.

I found this out first-hand when I was doing a feature on the Raiders and asked if I could pose Nicole hitting the ball for a photo. In order to do this, I asked Bob if he could get Nicole to hit the ball softer.

He said he'd try.

Up went the ball ... SMACK. I snapped the photo ... blurry shot.

Up went the ball ... SMACK. I had another blurry picture.

This went on for several minutes, until Bob said he just didn't think Nicole could do it any other way.

Fawcett was the Player of the Year in Division I. I always knew she was great. I didn't know she'd be this great.

Congratulations to her, her teammates and her family. I'll be sure to drop her name for years.



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