Small But Mighty

Carly Saber, Staff Writer

 When someone first sees Emily Nitao (11), they often make note of her height. However, first impressions can be deceiving for she is an amazing player on the volleyball court. She is a member of the Girls Varsity Volleyball team as a defensive specialist: a player who enters the game to replace a player who would be playing both the front and the back row. Defensive specialists carry defense responsibilities such as receiving opposing serves in the back row. They are allowed to serve and often play the full back row rotation before giving the spot in the front row to the offensive player.

Nitao has played for three years now and not only has she played for West High, but for South Bay Volleyball Club. She wanted to try out for the volleyball team because “it seemed really fun and interesting and [she] love[s] team sports.”

When asked about what it is like to have Nitao as a teammate, Kaiana McDonald (11) stated, “She works really hard and goes all out all the time. I like having her on our team because she rarely lets us down. Her passes are close to perfection.” Though she is a great individual player, Nitao is a great team player and a great addition for the West High team.

Nitao is also a strong academic student who despite having a busy sports schedule always finds time to keep her grades up with her three AP classes. When asked about her plans after high school, Nitao stated she would not mind being recruited to play volleyball in college

When asked about how she’s coping with the pressure of playing on the Varsity team, Nitao claimed, “sometimes I get really frustrated when I am playing terrible because I’m letting the team down but I go back to how much I love this sport and keep playing my game.”

Everyone has their favorite time in their sport and Nitao said, “my favorite moment in volleyball are when I do the impossible like when the balls is [about] ten feet away but I go all out and [still manage to hit] the ball up. I get really excited and feel good about how hard I work in the end.”

Nitao is a great asset to the team where her skill and qualities are invaluable to West.