Former Baylor School volleyball standout Nicole Sumida has transferred from Lee University to NCAA Division I Butler University in Indianapolis.
The 6-foot-3 Sumida was a key contributor in 2012 for the Lady Flames, who won the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament in the NAIA and now have moved to NCAA Division II. She was SSAC freshman of the year and was a second-team all-conference selection.
“I just think she was looking for something different academically,” Baylor coach Sarah Lail said. “She obviously excelled in volleyball and did well at Lee, so I don’t think it had anything to do with the volleyball program. All of a sudden she was being re-recruited and she visited Butler and kind of fell in love with it. They had a starting position open up where she played. I think she’ll flourish there with her height.”
Sumida was a middle blocker in high school and played some right-side hitter in addition to middle blocker at Lee. She was fourth on the team with 363 kills and second with 125 blocks. She led the Lady Flames with 47 aces and also made 122 digs.
Sumida, who already has had a summer-school class at Butler, said she anticipates she’ll also be expected to be versatile playing for Bulldogs coach Sharon Clark.
“My goal is to do the best I can with whatever the coach wants for me,” Sumida said. “That may be playing here, playing there, playing in different spots. Whatever she wants for me, I want to do the best I can at that position.”
Sumida comes to Butler as the Bulldogs make the transition from the Horizon League to the Big East. She anticipated the move would be challenging.
“It has been already,” Sumida said. “We’re a couple of days into practice and I can already tell. Everybody’s better. Everybody’s quicker. I like it. It’s pushing me to be better.”
Sumida plans to continue majoring in exercise science.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.