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The two-time reigning Journal Review Volleyball Player of the Year has made her college choice.
Southmont senior Lexi Nelson signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her athletic career with NCAA Division II Urbana University in Urbana, OH.
“I think it’s really exciting to finally get to do this, because I’ve been looking forward to it since I started in junior-high,” Nelson said. “To finally prove myself that I can finally play at this level, and I’m ready for it.”
Through her success as a Mountie and in club volleyball with the Academy Volleyball Club, Nelson sparked interest from a number of Division II programs, but felt like Urbana was the perfect fit.
“I really like the size and just the environment at Urbana,” she said. “As soon as I met the coach I was like wow, she’s amazing.”
Nelson’s high school coach Lauran Nichols knows what it’s like to be a collegiate athlete, as she played volleyball at IUPUI from 2007-10, and saw the dedication it takes to be successful at the next level from her star player.
“I think seeing her dedication and hard work, and the work she was willing to put in,” Nichols said. “That’s huge when you go to college and play. That’s basically your life — you play and you go to class, and that’s it.”
Nelson says she began to realize she had what it takes to play at the next level after her freshman campaign.
“After my first year of varsity, so my freshman year,” she said. “I was like wow, if I really push into this, and look forward to it, I can see myself doing something big like playing volleyball.”
Nichols saw a noticeable jump between Nelson’s sophomore and junior seasons.
“The biggest jump for her was between her sophomore and junior year,” she said. “When she started playing cub and taking lessons. And just improving every single day. That was the biggest jump for her play wise, and just the fact that she wanted to continue playing, and was willing to work at it, and play hard, and put the time and effort into it,”
Nelson leaves behind quite the legacy at Southmont. During her senior season, she helped lead the Mounties to their first sectional title since 1993, broke the Montgomery County record for career kills with 1,433, earned a spot on the first-team all-state for Class 2A, and most recently became Southmont’s first Indiana All-Star for volleyball, selected by the Indiana High School Volleyball Coaches Association.
And she wants everyone to know it was hard work that got her there.
“I just want everyone to know that it’s important to work hard, when no one else is working hard,” she said. “That’s really what has allowed me to get where I am now.”
Nelson hopes that if nothing else, younger girls will look at what she accomplished, and want the same thing.
Nichols can already see that legacy unfolding.
“Leaving high school, and leaving where you’ve grown up,” she said. “You want to leave an impact, and she’s definitely done that on this school and on our program. And it goes beyond having her name or jersey on the wall. It’s younger girls growing up in this school system and looking up to her, and as they get older thinking to themselves, ‘I want to be like that one day.’”
Nelson will participate in the IHSVCA All-Star game Sunday afternoon at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis.