Athlete of the week: Samantha High

Junior marketing major and graphic design minor Samantha High has been playing volleyball since she was in sixth grade.  She grew up watching her older cousin play the sport.  Then, after she  attended a volleyball clinic tryout, High was hooked. Whether on the court or on the sideline, she is always cheering on her team.

During the 2012 season, the Naples, Fla. native played in a career-high number of sets, 80. Within those 80 sets, she accumulated a career best 128 kills — 13 more than the 2011 season. While the team may have struggled throughout the season, High set new personal bests in kills per set, digs and blocks.

As a sophomore, High played in 66 sets over the course of 22 games. She had a season best 15 kills in matches against conference rivals The Florida Institute of Technology and Rollins College. Her best games in blocks came when she scored four blocks against Midwestern State University. By season’s end, High had racked up 115 kills, 22 digs and 12 blocks.

High’s freshman year consisted of her playing in 22 matches, starting in four of them. The most amount of digs she had in one game was against Eckerd, when she collected four. She played her best game against fellow Sunshine State Conference member, Florida Southern College, during which she recorded 10 kills, 23 attacks and had a .389 hitting percentage. In total, she finished her freshman year with 46 kills and 14 blocks.

Before coming to NSU, High played volleyball for four years at Naples High School. She earned several awards and recognitions during her high school career, including player of the week and most improved player. She also served as team captain, was named to the All-County team. And Naples High wasn’t her only team; she also played for the Naples Volleyball Association club.

I sat down with High and asked her a few questions:

Why did you choose to come to NSU?
I always told myself that I didn’t want to stay in Florida. I wanted to go far away from home. But when I came here on a visit, it was just like home. I love the beach. The weather was beautiful.  And it was far enough, yet, close enough at the same time. I fell in love with the team when I met them.

What do you like the most about volleyball?
The competition and the excitement. Being able to share that with 15 other girls on the team is a great feeling; it’s almost like a sisterhood.

What is the hardest part about being a student-athlete?
Managing your time. You have to be able to balance school, practice and conditioning. On top of that, you have to make time to study. It’s always a question whether to study or to sleep.

Going into your senior season, what are you looking forward to the most?
I would like to go out with a bang. I’m ready to be a National Champion. We’re bringing in a lot of really good players and I’m really excited to see what our team can do. The returners have such a big drive and I’m sure the ones coming in are going to be ready to go.

Who is your favorite athlete?
Misty May-Treanor because she’s so dedicated. She had a child and tore her Achilles during “Dancing with the Stars” but she got back into it and never gave up.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would want to talk to animals because I love them. I would love to see what they were thinking, especially my dog.

If you were an animal, what do you think you would be?
I would be a zebra because the pattern on their bodies is ridiculous. They’re fast and they stick up for each other.

If you had an all-expenses paid trip, where would you want to go?
I would go to Africa because I really want to go on a safari. I want to ride on a wild elephant and wear one of those cool safari hats.

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