Athlete of the Week: Nick Smith

Photo by Michael Rosen.

Sport: Volleyball

Year: Third

Major: Communications

Hometown: Massapequa, NY

Position: Setter/Opposite


How Did You First Start Playing Volleyball?

Volleyball has always been in my genes. My mom played at CW Post and my dad played some pro beach volleyball. My parents actually met playing volleyball on the beach. My brothers Brian and Christian played on the men’s volleyball team here at New Paltz. Also, my sister Jamie is currently at Iona and plays on the women’s volleyball team there. This greatly influenced myself, my two brothers and my sister to start playing at a very young age. Beach volleyball has made me the player I am today because it enabled me to be able to pass, serve, hit and have ball control. This correlated very well to the indoor game because from a very young age I was able to play all positions on the volleyball court.

Outside Of Volleyball, What Do You Like To Do?

Outside of volleyball I love watching other athletes from other sports compete at the highest possible level. Also, I love training and working outside of volleyball because it’s crucial in order to compete at the highest possible level.

Who Are Your Biggest Role Models?

My brothers Brian and Christian have definitely been huge role models for me growing up, especially on a competitive level. Basketball and volleyball were the two sports that all three of us focused most of our attention on growing up. From playing pickup games in basketball with our friends to playing doubles on the beach volleyball court, anything that we do together there’s always that fierceness and relentlessness to win. Without them to look up to, I don’t know if my development and maturity as a man on the volleyball court would be the way it is today. I have looked up to them greatly on how to lead by example and also having a calm, cool, collective and focused mindset on the court.

Are You A Fan Of Any Professional Teams?

I am a huge New York Giants and New York Knicks fan. Being a Knicks fan is probably the toughest thing in the world to be because of the lack of success over the years, not winning a championship since 1973 is awful. The greatest feeling in the world was watching the Giants beat Tom Brady’s juggernaut New England Patriots in two Super Bowls, 2007 and 2011.

Do You Have Any Sports-Related Superstitions?

The main two things I do before games are listen to music to get me in the groove and pumped up. Also, I always touch the bottom of the net right after shaking hands with the opposing team. This has been a habit of mine ever since I was 14 playing club volleyball.

What’s Your Favorite Sports Memory?

My favorite sports memory is winning the national championship in 2016 against powerhouse Springfield in the finals. After several years of making it to the final four, we finally broke through and won the whole thing. That amazing feeling of holding up that NCAA championship trophy and achieving something with a special group of guys is something I will cherish forever.