Nash digs Radford University
Published 8:59 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013
After Kaylor Nash’s sensational junior year leading the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy volleyball team to the state championship game, a choice of select collegiate options was sure to follow.
Nash found what she wanted both as a student and a volleyball player at Radford University, to which she committed Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve always really liked Radford,” she said. “They have my major and a good (physical therapy) program, so I started looking at Radford because of that.”
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The school’s appeal grew after she attended a volleyball camp on campus in July and established a good relationship with the school’s team and head coach.
Nash plans to major in human nutrition, foods and exercise science, while playing for the Highlanders, which compete at the Division I level in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Radford won out over possibilities such as the University of Maryland and Kent State University.
The school and Highlanders head coach Marci Jenkins are not able to comment on Nash until she signs a National Letter of Intent in October, but Nash and her NSA coach Robyn Ross say they already know much of what is planned.
“Kaylor’s got a really great jump serve and a really great back-row attack, so Marci wants to make sure that she can use Kaylor’s jumping and hitting from the back row her freshman year as a (defensive specialist),” Ross said.
This represents a change for Nash, who frequently plays as an outside hitter on the front row for the Lady Saints.
“I play all the way around here,” Nash said before a Wednesday practice at NSA. “I like defense a lot, so it’s not that big of a deal for me.”
Nash was named Player of the Year at both the state and conference levels last season. According to MaxPreps.com, she finished first among players at the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II level with 437 kills and 109 aces, and she logged 409 digs — best among non-libero and defensive specialists.
At 5 feet 8 inches, Nash is short by Division I college standards for front-row players, who average more than six feet. Therefore, a move to the back row was anticipated.
“You’ve got to get your foot in the door any way you can, which was our plan all along,” Ross said.
Ross entered college with a similar stature and mindset to her young charge.
“She just wanted to go somewhere where she could play and be competitive, which is why she wanted to go Division I as opposed to II or III,” Ross said.
Ross said coach Jenkins told Nash she would easily be an All-American at the Division II or III level, but she would not have much competition.
“I always wanted to play the best people and beat the best people,” Ross said.
The challenge of Division I opponents was a significant factor in Nash’s decision, but also the assurance of an opportunity to play early.
“Virginia Tech told her, ‘You could come walk on,’ but she might not see court time until she’s a junior or a senior,” Ross said. “So, that was the same boat I was in. I didn’t want to just go to a Division I school. I wanted to go and play.”
Jenkins’ assurance Nash would play and her specificity on Nash’s defensive role with the Highlanders as a freshman were major selling points.
“Obviously, she still has to go there and prove herself and earn it, but it is what their coach is already envisioning, which is really cool,” Ross said.