Early on in the preseason warm-ups and camps, Coach Cindy Nikkel is noticing her Pella Christian volleyball team becoming a tightknit group, and they haven’t even played a game yet.
“They’re just stepping up and doing things I don’t even ask them to do,” Nikkel said. “The way we are in the gym, our demeanor, the way they include new players that are coming, the new freshmen, they are grabbing them and bringing them into the program. They are doing a lot of great leadership without being coached to do that.”
Nikkel mentioned a few instances away from the court that her team has also shown leadership; they visited an injured player in the hospital and bought her flowers and a card, and called in a favor from someone close to the school during team pictures.
“We ended up having our team photographer get stuck in traffic, so they called a good friend and co-worker here at Pella Christian, Maury Blankenspaur, happens to have his camera in his car, and they asked him if he’d be able to take pictures,” Nikkel explained. “He grabs his camera and comes out there and takes pictures for us. The girls already got him a card and a gift certificate; that’s the kind of group they are, they’re just very appreciative and taking care of each other.”
Nikkel says this early season leadership will pay dividends, especially when they get deeper into their schedule and play some tough opponents. The Eagles begin play August 26 at Marshalltown.