Alexander: No place like the I.E. for Coyotes’ Lauren Nicholson
SAN BERNARDINO — Cal State San Bernardino’s volleyball Coyotes won’t exactly be at home for their 18th straight NCAA Division II West Regional, but they will be close enough to commute.
That will be just fine with outside hitter Lauren Nicholson, their best player. For her, there’s no place like the I.E.
Nicholson, a senior outside hitter from Upland, leads the fourth-seeded Coyotes (21-7) against fifth-seeded Azusa Pacific at 5 Thursday evening at Cal Baptist’s Van Dyne Gym.
In a program that has had a cavalcade of stars, including National Players of the Year Kim Morohunfola (2003), Brianna Harris (2004) and Samantha Middleborn (2010 and ’11), Nicholson has added her name to the list. She was the CCAA Player of the Year in 2017, the CCAA Tournament outstanding player for the second straight year, and the Daktronics/Conference Commissioner’s Association regional player of the year.
She led her conference in kills, kills per set, attacks and points per set, and her 29 kills in a three-set win over Chico State earlier this year was not only a school record but the top three-set kill effort in any of the NCAA’s divisions. She is 10th in Division II among active players in career kills per set (3.83), and needs 18 digs to become only the third Cal State player with 1,000 career kills and digs.
She is here because … well, the idea of a SoCal kid in Oregon may have seemed appealing when she committed to Portland State as a sophomore at Upland High, but it turned out to be less so when she actually got there.
“That was the main factor,” she said. “The weather too, a little bit, because I’m not used to rain every day. I just missed being at home with my friends and family … it just wasn’t what I was used […]