Washington Bible's Nelson makes points and learns them, too Volleyball standout focuses on education

November 09, 1992|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Susan Nelson must wait at least another week to find out if she has been selected as an All-American volleyball player at Washington Bible College.

The honor would put an exclamation point on what already qualifies as a remarkably productive season for the 1988 Chesapeake High graduate. Her list of accomplishments seems to grow each day.

Nelson has garnered such awards as Most Valuable Player in the North Atlantic Christian Conference and MVP in the conference tournament. She also was named to the All-Conference and All-District teams for the second straight year.

None of these awards was of importance to Nelson when the season began, or when she started her two-year stint at the Lanham, Md., college. Just being able to play the sport at another level while pursuing her goal of working in Christian counseling provided enough fulfillment.

"Since it was a Christian school, I was just happy they had a volleyball team," said Nelson, a 5-foot-10 hitter who played two seasons at Anne Arundel Community College before transferring to Washington Bible.

"We played them once when I was at Anne Arundel, so I got a chance to look at them. I thought I'd be able to do well."

She wasn't the only one.

"She came to us as a real strong player," said Washington Bible coach Vickie Huddell. "Susan also has a good knowledge of the game and is able to help out in that way with her teammates. She has a good court sense and good strategy, things some of our other players aren't as strong in. She's an outstanding athlete."

Nelson often was overshadowed at Anne Arundel, especially during her sophomore season, when 6-2 Jen Erlandson joined the program after building her reputation at Severna Park High. But Nelson's final year at the Arnold college, when she moved from outside to middle hitter, produced 259 kills, 114 blocks (94 solo) and status as second-team All-Region XX.

Nelson also earned the team's MVP award and a scholarship to Washington Bible.

"We needed somebody smart, and we felt she could pick up the position really fast," said Anne Arundel assistant Betty Hession, explaining Nelson's shift to the inside.

"She always was very enthusiastic, very positive. She'd be one of the first players to hit somebody on the shoulder and say what they were doing wrong, or tell them they were doing well. She'd pump the team up. And she absorbed everything you tried to teach her."

The emphasis on teaching is especially pronounced at Washington Bible, where the program remains in the "building stages," Huddell said.

"This is my third year. When I came here, they didn't do a whole lot of recruiting. They had whatever came along," she said.

The Cougars are thriving -- at least, in their modest terms -- from Nelson's arrival. They've recently completed their best season, going 8-10 while finishing as runners-up in the conference for the second consecutive year.

Nelson's statistics from this season look incomplete -- she's listed as having 129 kills and eight solo blocks -- but the numbers aren't important to her.

"Basically, I went there for the education," said Nelson, who majors in biblical studies. "But I've had a lot of fun playing on the team."

And a lot of honors. And the list could grow some more.

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