The Windermere Prep volleyball team has enjoyed an encouraging start to the 2015 fall season with a 5-3 record as of Sept. 14. Helping to lead the way for the young roster is freshman outside hitter Riley Nowicki. Against International Community School last week, Nowicki had nine kills and 13 digs.
As a freshman playing at the varsity level, what’s it like when you take on competitors who are sometimes three and four years older than you?
It’s really cool, because most of our team is actually pretty young. We have two girls in eighth grade, two freshmen and then we only have one senior. We play against older teams, obviously, and they’re much taller, and it can be intimidating but we do well against them.
Considering the team’s relative youth, what are your thoughts on what’s in store in the coming years for the program?
When we get older, our team will just only get better, because we’ll have more experience on the team.
What was your focus during the offseason?
I play for a club at (Orlando Volleyball Academy), and during the summer, our season is actually off, so I actually was training privately with one coach at OVA once a week. I focused mostly on passing, because at OVA, I’m a (defensive setter), but here, I play outside (hitter).
With Orlando Volleyball Academy drawing players from throughout the region, have you been able to befriend many girls from different schools?
Some of my friends are on the Lake Highland (Prep) team; actually, most of my friends my OVA team are. And then, from the bigger schools, I have friends from older teams, too.
What do you like about playing during the varsity season with Windermere Prep as opposed to club season with OVA?
It’s fun to play with your friends that you actually know … it’s also cool to see, like my club team friends, what schools they go to and then you can play against them, competitively.
What is the team doing well right now to have gotten off to this 5-3 start to the season?
We’re passing well and serving well right now. We have strong serves against the other teams.
Looking at the schedule, is there a particular match you are anticipating?
I’m looking forward to playing (International Community School) again. We played three games against them last time we played them, and we lost, but it was really close. So, I’m excited to play them again and beat them.
Among you and your teammates, what is the goal for this season?
We want to go to districts and at least win that and see how far we can get after that.
What other sports do you like to support on campus?
I like to watch the football games — they’re a lot of fun. In the spring I like to go to lacrosse, because I sometimes play lacrosse.
Do you play any other sports beside volleyball?
I wakeboard on the lake and a little bit of lacrosse, but not competitively.
What’s your favorite area of study?
I like language arts and reading and writing.
What’s the last good book you read?
Right now in English, we’re actually reading a book, and it’s called “The Night Circus,” and it’s really good. It’s a mystery, kind of, and it’s just cool.
What’s the last movie you saw in theater and was it any good?
I think it was “Paper Towns,” and I actually read the book, and it was really good. The movie was good, too.
Is there a particular volleyball player or program you like to follow?
I like watching Penn State. They’re really good at volleyball and then, for a guy volleyball player, I really like Matt Anderson — he’s an outside (hitter) for USA Volleyball, and he’s really cool.