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High School Sports: Hamburg’s McDermott wins Nichols Schools’ Female Athlete of Year award

Morgan McDermott of Hamburg earned the 2013 Nichols School Female Athlete of the Year award.
Morgan McDermott of Hamburg was the 2013 recipient of the Nichols School Alumni Cup which recognizes a male and female student for their athletic achievements during their four years at the school.

She received 12 varsity letters for her contributions to the volleyball, softball and basketball teams while maintaining a 3.85 grade point average. During her career at Nichols, McDermott was selected captain of all three teams during her junior and senior years.

In addition, she was the basketball and volleyball Most Valuable Players, along with a two-time Western New York Scholar Athlete and was first team All-Catholic in both softball and volleyball. She also helped the softball team to its first-ever Monsignor Martin title this spring.

Morgan has been accepted into D’Youville’s pharmacy program and will also play basketball there.

Note — Here is a feature written about her and teammate Maria Kolesnikova from the volleyball season. The two standouts helped lead Nichols to a solid season:

Morgan McDermott and Maria “Masha” Kolesnikova aren’t able to pinpoint exactly when their chemistry on the volleyball court kicked in.

All they know is it’s there, and it feels pretty good. In their time together McDermott, the setter, and Kolesnikova, an outside hitter, have developed an on-court chemistry that has helped Nichols volleyball team turn the corner and head into a positive direction.

“I think we work together very well,” said McDermott, a senior who is in year four of her varsity career. “It’s only my second year setting and I surprise myself sometimes that I can get them to her. And she rips them! I love her for it. Even when (my set) is awful, she’s awesome.”

As McDermott looked on smiling, Kolesnikova talked about the faith that she has in her teammates ability.

“It’s amazing because I always know that if I’m having a bad game she’ll always be there to help me and she’ll always give me a good set,” Kolesnikova said.

Both girls agreed that there really wasn’t a watershed moment that defined their continuity on the floor. That’s it’s been more a case of growing together.

“I think it’s definitely built up,” said McDermott. “You get to know where she likes her sets, especially on those trick plays. I know if I’m setting it to high, or if I’m setting it too low or too far.”

At the root of why McDermott and Kolesnikova work so well is that they know they can be frank with each other on and off the court.

“It’s great because it’s so helpful because we’re all still learning the game,” McDermott explained. “So just to be able to say I need it a little farther or a little higher, it really helps everyone.”

Kolesnikova, an Orchard Park resident, agreed with McDermott that the time spent together as teammates has helped them bond on and off the court. And has helped them both better serve the team.

“We’ve been playing together for three years now so we’ve gotten to know each other on and we’ve learned each other’s personalities off of it,” she said . “So we know what the other person will do. For some reason when Morgan does set it I know when it’s coming to me because I do know her. And it always end up going there (in the right spot). And even if it’s not there, like she said, we can talk about it.”

Though McDermott and Kolesnikova’s worth is clear on the stat sheet, Nichols varsity coach Phil Coburn said Morgan and Masha’s true value is in the everyday things that they both do. The things that don’t show up on a stat page, but still go a long way in shaping a successful team.

“They’ve been the heart of the team. It starts with their hustle in practice and the way that they play right off the get-go,” Coburn said. “They’re the emotional leaders of the team on the court. They’re the ones that never let the ball hit the ground.”

Knowing that they have been contributing to the overall mission of improving the team makes both Morgan and Masha smile.

“It’s really nice,” Kolesnikova said with a grin, “but then again if it wasn’t for Morgan, I know I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

For McDermott, whose scholastic volleyball career is nearing its end, it’s a bitter sweet pill to swallow. She knows she was part of the turn around, but what she wouldn’t give for just one more season.

“Yeah, definitely.” McDermott said with a smile. “I’m going to miss it. I’m to going to miss everyone.”

(Volleyball story written by Dave Ricci, Metro Source reporter)

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