M-P’s Bailey Nelson’s explosive hitting earns her Athlete of the Week

MARYSVILLE — Marysville-Pilchuck's outside hitter Bailey Nelson puts the ball away like no other.

Marysville-Pilchuck's Bailey Nelson practices her hitting during a defensive drill at practice.

MARYSVILLE — Marysville-Pilchuck’s outside hitter Bailey Nelson puts the ball away like no other.

She burst onto the scene as a freshman for her volleyball team last year when she landed 340 kills. She helped take her team to the 3A State tournament, which she hopes to do again this year.

“I’m really hoping to have fun, even though there is a lot of pressure,” Bailey said. “I definitely think this team has the ability to get back to state.

Her output last season was above any player coach Brittany Fitzmaurice could think of in the region, let alone doing it as a freshman.

“That is extremely high,” Fitzmaurice said. “Usually freshman are just playing supporting roles.”

When Fitzmaurice first saw Bailey’s power and aggressiveness toward the net, she knew Bailey was something special.

“Anytime she got to the net she swung hard,” Fitzmaurice said. “At that point, I knew she would be a great player on our team.”

Nelson is only 5-foot-7, which is relatively short for a hitter.

“Bailey might not be the tallest player on the court but she has great precision in her approach which compensates for that,” Fitzmaurice said. “She has accurate timing and stays behind and on top of the ball which gives her the ability to swing hard.”

Beside her impressive style of play, Fitzmaurice also learned Nelson was a natural leader which are not exhibited in freshmen either.

“Next year, she can fulfill those responsibilities of captain,” she said.

Now in her sophomore year, Nelson shows no sign of a slump. She put away 16 kills in M-P’s game against Oak Harbor where they won 3-1 Sept. 10.

“I play for my team, and not myself,” Nelson said. “I cannot do what I can do without them.”

Nelson averages five kills a game. Her team helps give her many opportunities to “wail on the ball,” Fitzmaurice said.

Nelson also plays beach volleyball during the summer. She goes down to California to compete, though the sport is also gaining popularity in Washington as well, she said.

Nelson does not know which sport to commit to, but so far, M-P is reaping the benefits, as beach volleyball is more strenuous sport.

“First, there is only the other player on your team. You don’t jump as high or move as fast,” Nelson said. “It’s a much smarter game.”

Other factors are wind which can effect the balls movement and sand is harder to move on. Nelson is able to harness all her strengths to their full potential when indoors.

“When I’m indoors, I feel like I can jump toward the sky,” she said. “It definitely helps when you have stamina as well.”

“The best players are good at both beach and indoor volleyball,” Fitzmaurice said.

Other nominees:

Arlington junior midfielder Mckenzie Buell scored two goals against Interlake Sept. 12 to lead the Eagles soccer team to a win 2-0.

Arlington senior quarterback Andrew Kalahar led the Eagles football team to victory by throwing for 441 yards with five passing touchdowns against Snohomish 45-35 Sept. 11. Teammate receiver and senior Donavan Sellgren caught 18 passes for 275 yards including four of Kalahar’s touchdown passes.

Marysville Getchell junior outside hitter Juliana Cameron put away 11 kills and eight aces in the Chargers volleyball team’s win against Redmond Sept. 12.

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