Information provided by Adam Breen, San Benito High School District public information/community relations officer.
San Benito High School senior Nicole Miller will continue her volleyball career in college after receiving academic and athletic scholarships to play beach volleyball at Concordia University in Irvine, which she calls the “perfect fit for me.” Miller formalized her commitment during a signing ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4.
“The school is five minutes from the beach, which happens to be my favorite place,” she said, noting that she has always wanted to live in Southern California. Miller plans to major in kinesiology and later pursue a career in athletic training, according to a recent press release.
“The assistant coach is a former Concordia men’s volleyball player and graduate from the same major I plan to go into and speaks very highly of the program,” she said. “The coaches are truly the best I could ask for, as well as the team who are all very welcoming and talented.”
Whether she was doing homework on car rides to practice or sitting in hotel rooms catching up on class work, Miller said she has maintained a good GPA in high school while playing high school, club and beach volleyball year-round.
“I have always been able to balance being a student with being an athlete,” she said. “I’m grateful to have grown up with the opportunity to do so and I plan to carry that to college. I am looking forward most to playing at the collegiate level, taking on new responsibilities, meeting new people and living right next to the beach.”
Miller said she will “miss just about everything here in Hollister: my family, football games, Hollister Hills, and all of the things my friends and I came up with to do in this little town.”
Her fondest memory of being a student-athlete at SBHS “would definitely be being a part of the Baler volleyball program. I was able to create so many bonds with both the players and coaches. Whether it was the team bondings, the concerts in the back of the bus on our way to away games or having the entire program end with an undefeated record in league my sophomore year. It was all the best I could ask for.”
Miller said that while she has “worked extremely hard to get where I’m at,” she is “beyond thankful for my family’s support, not missing a single game in my entire volleyball experience and taking me wherever I needed to be for practices and tournaments. I can’t thank my coaches enough for getting me to the point I am now. I have put so much work in and their coaching made it possible for me to pursue my dream to play at the next level.”
One of those coaches, Baler alumna and head girls’ volleyball coach Emily Burley, said Miller “has been an invaluable part of Baler volleyball over the past four years. She has always been a force to reckon with on the court because of her great volleyball knowledge and skill, but it is who she is as a player both on and off the court that really make her such an important part of our program.”
Burley said Miller led the varsity team in kills the past few seasons, “but has also taken it upon herself to become a leader through this difficult year. She has been an encouragement to her teammates and, without knowing it, her coaches as well. We are so sad to see her graduate and we will miss her, but so excited and proud for her to continue her academic and playing career with Concordia. They are extremely lucky to have her! Great job Nicole; we know you’ll do great things and we will miss you!”