NIU’s Holmes a mover on, off volleyball court

By Kari Brackett

Not only does the 6-foot-1 junior keep active on the NIU volleyball court, but she also stays active by moving around the country.

Holmes moved from Kentucky to Indiana in seventh grade, and during her junior year in high school she left for Connecticut. Now her home is in Texas.

“I started playing volleyball in seventh grade,” Holmes said. “I had moved to Indiana from Kentucky, and my mom wanted me to get involved and meet people.”

Holmes began at the varsity level as a freshman at Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia, Ind. During her junior year, the squad played to a 22-4 record and won its sectional tournament.

Just when Holmes was looking forward to a another possible standout season in her senior year, her parents told her the family was moving again.

Her family moved to Wilton, Conn., where Holmes said the the sport of volleyball was not too competitive.

“It was really different,” Holmes said. “In Indiana, teams knew how to play, and I was frustrated to move. I coached the team as much as the coach did.

“Toward the end of the season the girls tried hard and the team had its best season ever, but it was upsetting to end my senior year that way.”

Volleyball is not the only sport the elementary education major played in high school. She participated in basketball for four years and in track for three. While at Hamilton, Holmes set school records in both the high jump and 200-meter dash.

Holmes began looking at NIU while she was still living in Indiana. Even though she moved, coach Herb Summers kept in touch.

“I liked the way Summers handled things,” Holmes said about her choice of colleges. “I liked the school in general, because it was the perfect size. NIU was the only Division I school recruiting me.”

“She originally contacted us,” Summers said. “Her athletic ability (was a positive). She had some experience but not a great deal.”

The American Volleyball Coaches Association has ranked Holmes 20th in blocks with an average of 1.56 blocks-per-game this season. She also leads the Huskies in attacks. As of last week, she had tallied a .334 kill percentage.

“I was so shocked,” Holmes said of her AVCA ranking. “I had no idea, but I still have room for improvement. I can still do better.”

“She was very green when she came in,” Summers said. “It took (her) two years to get confident, and she is still learning.”

NIU is having somewhat of a disappointing season. The Huskies had hoped to be doing better than their 10-9 record mid-way through season play.

“I am a little disappointed, but not with the way the team is playing.” Holmes said. “We are getting along and have a fighting attitude (on the court).”

Holmes and the rest of the Huskies travel to Wisconsin-Green Bay tonight at 7 p.m. for a first-meeting match against the Fighting Phoenix.