Wins three straight MAAC Rookie-of-the-Week awards

When someone wins an award not once, not twice, but three times in a row, it is only natural for them to gain a little pride and start bragging – maybe even let it get to their ego. Just ask Barry Bonds (four straight MVP awards, and look where that got him).

But that’s not who Nicole Marzik ’16 is. Marzik doesn’t let any of it go to her head. She barely even gives herself a pat on the back.

When asked what she thought of her play so far into her freshman season, Marzik simply stated: “I think I can play better.”

“Everyone can always get better. I hope to get some more playing time, and step it up a little bit.”

Mature beyond her years, Marzik has burst onto the scene in the MAAC, having already picked up three MAAC Rookie of the Week awards in her first three weeks as a collegiate athlete. That is something that no other athlete in Fairfield volleyball history has ever done.

“I really didn’t think I was going to get [the award] once. Three times, I couldn’t believe it,” said Marzik. “But I was really happy I got it, and happy that my hard work has been paying off.”

The newest addition to the Stags (along with fellow Maddie FitzPatrick ’16) has found her role with the team quite quickly. She is currently fifth on the team in kills, tied for fourth in assists, and fifth in digs, proving she is able on both sides of the ball.

Despite her own modesty, the young outside hitter’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed by her coaches and teammates.

“She’s done a great job … she goes up and swings away and puts some serious heat on the ball,” said Head Coach Alija Pittenger. “I think as a freshman it’s difficult, the game is a little different [from high school] … she’s had her struggles but she’s a tough player.

“She is really mentally tough, doesn’t get fazed by much. I think she’s trying to figure out how to work around [the struggles] and ways to improve. She’s getting better in practice every single day.”

Senior Kara Reis has also liked what she has seen from the Texas native.

“She’s a really, really good player, been very consistent. Very powerful hitter,” said Reis. “She has so much potential to grow, and she’s already grown a lot.”

“I definitely think she’s going to be one of the big hitters on the team … With even more years under her belt, she’s going to become even stronger of a player.”

Pittenger has been impressed by Marzik since the first game she saw her play. “She was just carrying her team, hitting shots all over the court,” said Pittenger. “You could just tell she was a competitor, and that’s always something that you look for … I found that I really liked watching her play.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Marzik has received notoriety for her play. Back home in Prosper, Texas, Marzik was a First Team 3A All-State player her senior year for Prosper High School, and received an honorable mention to the same team as a junior. She was also on the Under Armor Girl’s All-America Watch List last year.

“She’s not one of those players you’re going to hear yelling or screaming, but she definitely talks to those people around her,” said Pittenger. “She’ll work with them and try to make the people around her better.”

Excluding the dramatic change in weather and geography, the soft-spoken Marzik has found a home here at Fairfield with her teammates, a home that is 1,600 miles away from her childhood home. “I love the team, they’re really family oriented, and all really close. It’s been fun, they’ve become most of my best friends here. It’s a good time.”

Marzik has high hopes for the rest of the season, believing that the team will get back on track and be a team to reckon with come MAAC Tournament time. And if she continues on the tear she is on now and continues to develop as a player, there’s no doubt Marzik herself will be a force not only this year, but for the rest of her college career.
Even if she’s too modest to admit it.

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