Meet the Volleyball newcomers: Nicole Dalton
Aug. 2, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Nicole Dalton arrives on the Forty Acres after being ranked No. 6 in the nation by Prep Volleyball. She was selected to the 2011 U.S. Girls' Youth National Team that competed at the FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship.
Dalton was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Colorado twice in 2010 and 2011 and was named to the 2012 MaxPreps All-American Volleyball first team. She also was named 2011 Prep Volleyball High School All-American and named to the 2010 U.S. Girls' Youth National Training Team.
Last year, she led Chaparral High to the 5A state title and a perfect 31-0 record with 492 kills, 406 assists, 267 digs, 176 service receptions, 62 blocks and 54 aces while recording a .454 hitting percentage. She totaled 22 assists, 13 kills, 13 digs and two blocks in the state title sweep of Grandview (Aurora, Colo.), capturing Class 5A state tournament Most Valuable Player honors for the second consecutive season. She compiled 473 kills, 376 digs, 127 assists, 87 blocks and 47 service aces as a junior in 2010.
She played at the club level for Front Range Volleyball Club under coach Jim Miret. She led Front Range to the bronze medal at the 2011 AAU Championships. In 2010, she helped USA Team to the gold medal at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championship and led Front Range to a fifth-place finish at the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior Nationals. At the 2009 and 2010 AAU Championships, Front Range finished with the silver medal.
"(Nicole) has the skill set to set and play right side in our program. With Nicole, she gives us some flexibility. Her size allows her to hit as a setter or opposite attacker. She has all the skill sets and will be a valuable piece to this program," UT head coach Jerritt Elliott said.
Dalton recently visited with TexasSports.com as she prepares for her freshman season with the Longhorns.
Can you describe the competitive setting of open gym this summer? It was really exciting for me, because everyone is so talented. We did open gym three or four times a week, just serve-and-pass or scrimmages, and that's just reps. When we scrimmaged, it was very competitive, and that's what I love about it. You're stepping on to the court with girls who are a lot more experienced than you, and that makes you play better and push yourself to do more.
You can set or hit, but which do you prefer? I don't know. For high school, I set and played outside. I love setting. When I first started setting on my club team, I went home and cried to my mom, but now every day, I come to love it more.
Do you feel validated that the decision to come to Texas was the right one? I knew when I visited that this was the place for me, but being on campus and being a part of campus - working out, going to class - it really helped me to know I made the right decision.
What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming season? Just being on the court. We start two-a-days soon, and I'm ready to be on the court and learn the different rhythms of the team. I'm excited to learn more and be on the court and have all the coaches and the girls just push me. I'm just excited to get on the court with people who are better than me.