Nov. 14, 2011
By Mia Klein
The University of Connecticut graduating class for the women’s volleyball team happens to be quite small, with only two seniors. Do not let this fool you though, as head coach Holly Strauss-O’Brien explains, “both Jordan and Allie bleed UConn blue.” Jordan Kirk (Plano, Texas) and Allison Nickel (Pittsford, N.Y.) have both been four-year starters for the Huskies and clearly both have left a lasting impact on their team.
These two seniors will be missed undoubtedly on the court, with Kirk averaging 3.27 kills per set this year and over 1,000 kills in her UConn career and Nickel totaling over 140 career blocks as a dominant middle hitter. What will be missed equally though is their leadership and character off the court.
Nickel, according to Strauss-O’Brien, will be missed not only for her dance moves off the court but her on court presence and leadership. “Allie (Nickel) always knows what’s going on on the court. She knows the opponents inside and out and is the ‘steady-eddy’ calming force for the team,” Strauss-O’Brien described.
Kirk, described by many as the “team-mom,” has led the Huskies over the past four years with the consistency coaches long for; averaging over 200 kills a season.
Both Nickel and Kirk have been mentors for younger players off the court in addition to being leaders on the court. Freshman Devon Maugle (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) described them as the, “big-sisters I know I can always depend on to be there for me when I need it.”
Things for Kirk and Nickel though have not always been this great, as they both unhappily remembered the 6 a.m. workouts for months at a time their freshman year and the sixteen-game losing streak they both suffered during their junior year.
“Dog-piling in the middle of the court after beating Rutgers to end that streak though had to be my best memory here,” Kirk added. According to Nickel one of her happiest moments was beating Notre Dame finally during her senior season, where according to Nickel, “we then dog-piled in the middle of the court, again.”
Strauss-O’Brien knows what a big loss the team will have once these two leave, describing them as both sisters, teammates and best friends.
Kirk and Nickel both have made a huge impact to the women’s volleyball program over the past four years on the court as teammates and leaders and just as importantly, off the court as friends.