NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The phrase "battle tested" is one that can be ascribed to Belmont University Volleyball senior Alexa Nichols (Walton, Ky.). For her tenacity and perseverance throughout this season, she was recently recognized for her contributions by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as the November recipient of the Belmont GRIT Award, as announced on Wednesday.
After battling through injuries early in her career that pushed her into a fifth year, Nichols powered through and was named to the 2018 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Team for her final season. A knee surgery last spring was thought to all but put an end to her potential return to the floor for the Bruins but her tenacity shined through. Against all odds, the team's co-captain persevered and even made a return to the starting lineup this past fall, earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team of the UT Arlington Maverick Invitational. Even as a handful of injuries hampered her play down the stretch, Nichols' leadership and consistency helped lift her teammates through a tough season.
Nichols turned in her best performances of the season when her team needed her most in the final weeks of the regular season. When doctors communicated surgery was necessary before the end of the season, she didn't throw in the towel. After helping the Bruins pick up a win at home over crosstown rival Tennessee State with her 15 kills and five block assists performance, she cranked up the intensity for the closing match of that weekend. On the road at Eastern Illinois, she hit a match-high .414 after knocking down 17 kills with a pair of block assists in what would become the final contest of her collegiate career.
Head Coach Tony Howell noted that Nichols is, "a person who showed true GRIT this season. I am very grateful for the young lady she is."
Belmont Volleyball is grateful for Alexa's personal sacrifices, dedication and demonstration of true GRIT.