Nicki Bechtold’s positive attitude on and off the volleyball court seems to be contagious.
The senior is able to see the bright side while balancing a busy lifestyle with school and playing both beach and indoor volleyball.
As a veteran with Eckerd College, Bechtold aims to lead by example, something assistant coach Jade Hayes has noticed.
“We jokingly call her Nicholas,” said Hayes. “She provides so much energy, passion, and enthusiasm … I’ve maybe once seen her without a smile on her face.”
Having played with three different partners in her last three matches, the ability to have chemistry with everyone on the roster is important for success. This is something she highlighted as a major difference between beach and indoor.
“With beach you’re only playing with one person, so you have to be able to build chemistry quickly, and you need to have it with most people on your team,” Bechtold said, when taking a quick break from her high intensity morning practice.
Coming from Frankfort, Illinois, and transferring from Valparaiso University in Indiana, the weather and the community is what attracted Bechtold to become a Triton and now it feels like home.
“I obviously love the weather here,” she said. “Eckerd is a smaller community, and everyone knows each other … it brought me all these girls and I want to stay here, I don’t want to go back to Illinois.”
Outside of volleyball, Bechtold enjoys going to the beach, painting, doing arts and crafts, and browsing around campus with friends. On Sundays she plans out her week to get ahead of her busy schedule.
Bechtold believes that discipline and hard work are what separates a good volleyball player from a great one, something that she has tried to model after her favourite athlete Michael Jordan.
“I didn’t make the volleyball team in grade seven and my mom told me that (Michael) Jordan didn’t make his basketball team in high school, so you just have to keep going for what you believe in and here I am.”
Winning her last match over Florida Southern, 21-10, 21-17, Bechtold now holds a 2-7 individual record on the season, while Eckerd College sits at 3-8 overall at this writing and hope to finish the year strong as the post-season approaches.