EWU volleyball recruit prepares to compete

EWU volleyball recruit prepares to compete

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer

The EWU volleyball team announced on April 29 the National Letter of Intent signing of Southridge High School athlete and Portland, Oregon, native Nicole Rigoni.

Associate head coach Michael King has known Rigoni as an athlete for several years.
“I remember when [Rigoni] played volleyball as a 12 and under. I coached [Rigoni] last year in club and she was a highly recruited prospective student with several options for her college career.”

According to King, Rigoni grew up in a competitive household. “Both of her parents were collegiate athletes at the University of Montana and her mom coached college volleyball for several years at [University of Montana],” King said. “Nicole [Rigoni] was raised with a strong sense of competitive fire, self-discipline and self-believe.”

Assistant coach Janelle Allen also had the opportunity to meet Rigoni last spring during her official visit to Eastern. “[Rigoni] is outgoing, communicative, self driven and competitive,” Allen said.

Rigoni earned four varsity letters during her high school career. In high school, she also recorded 1,124 assists. Rigoni also has 579 kills, 537 digs, 124 aces and 79 blocks.

During her senior year, Rigoni made first team all-state for the Oregon newspaper, The Oregonian. She was also named Metro League Player of the Year. As a senior and junior, she was also honored with First Team All-Metro League All-Around. Rigoni also earned first team honors while playing the setter position in 2011. Her multiple awards gave her opportunities to train with USA Volleyball.

According to goeags.com, head coach Wade Benson states that Rigoni is an athlete that might get to play a significant role right away. “[Rigoni] is a great local recruit who plays a very important position,” Benson said. “She is a person who is a very hard worker and could push for early playing time. She is a winner and we are excited to have [Rigoni] as part of our program.”

King explained how Rigoni will help the team next season. “[Rigoni] will compete from day one for a starting role and will bring value with her sense of urgency and focus,” King said. “[Rigoni’s] ability to control the [controllable], with her preparation, attitude, concentration and effort will show immediately.”

Allen is also optimistic about the impact Rigoni will have next season. “We believe [Rigoni] will bring a competitive energy and a consistency from day one,” Allen said. “She’s a natural athlete and a true competitor who will up the level of play with her own play and her vocal leadership.”

King stated that Rigoni will bring a professional mindset to the team. “As a coaching staff we are very proud of how our team this spring has brought a professional attitude to practice and the weight room,” King said. “We have seen major transformation in the program and believe [Rigoni’s] competitive spirit will just add additional strength to the program.”

In order to fit into the Eagles’ system right away, King believes that Rigoni will need to get to know her teammates fast. Allen also mentions that the team’s preseason practices and team activities will help her and the other new players get situated.

According to King, Rigoni will need to grasp Eastern’s quick offensive system and understand the tasks of being a setter at the collegiate level. “These demands are not easy and not for the weak minded,” King said. “We believe [Rigoni] will adjust quickly to the demands but it will take time.”