All Around Lady Panther

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Jenni Etherington

Nicoline playing in the Round Lake High School girls summer basketball program.

Misty Schlichtenmyer, Staff Writer

Sophomore Samantha Nicoline was 10 years old when her older sister challenged her to a game of basketball in their driveway. It was a hot summer day and the girls had nothing to do. They played for what seemed like hours to Nicoline. They were tied 26-26 when her sister said, “Alright Sam, I’m tired, so next shot wins.” As hard as Nicoline tried, she lost by one shot.

Even though Nicoline lost to her older sister that day, it made her realize her passion for basketball. She realized she was good and was determined to become better, just like her sister.

Nicoline’s determination has paid off. A sophomore at Round Lake High School, she participates in volleyball, basketball, and softball and has won MVP in all three sports. She is also in all honors classes with good grades. As the volleyball season comes to a close and basketball season starts up, Nicoline took a little bit of time to talk about her success as a high school student-athlete.

While basketball will always be close to her heart, Nicoline says that volleyball is her second favorite sport and she has been playing it since she was in the fourth grade. “I love how fun it is and I love how I am a family with the girls on my team,” she said. “It’s great how we have to work together to make something happen.”

Nicoline was inspired to play volleyball by watching the U.S. Olympics Women’s Volleyball Team when she was eight. “One day I was watching the Olympics with my dad,” she said. “We were watching the US volleyball team. I just thought the women looked so amazing and graceful as they played. I had decided that I wanted to be great like that one day.”

Nicoline not only is a great player on the court, but is also a supportive teammate. “Sam makes me a better player because she pushes me to want to be able to get on that court to prove, in a friendly way, that I am just as good as her, thus making me try my hardest at all times,” said Sophomore Kim Krieger, another team member.

At this point, Nicoline is gearing up for basketball season. Not only does she play for RLHS, but she also played for Lake County Challengers, a travel team for the community. Nicoline has improved in basketball quite a bit in her previous season, noting that it will probably be the best season she’s had in her high school career. “We got first in conference,” she said. “It really felt as if we were a family.”

    On top of the gains the RLHS girls’ basketball team made, Nicoline feels that she, herself, improved immensely as a player. Nicoline also takes pride in the fact that her teammates elected her team captain, which proves that her teammates think she’s a valuable asset to the team.

Looking to the future, Nicoline has her goals pretty well prioritized. “Well, first I have to become a better shooter,” she said. “Then [I hope to] play through college and then go onto the Women’s National Basketball Association.”

Nicoline is a profound athlete here at RLHS. Not only does she do a great job on both the volleyball and basketball courts, but she also is a great teammate. Of course, Nicoline wouldn’t expect anything less of herself.  “All I do is strive to be the best at what I do,” she said. “Whether it’s academics or sports.”