Natalie Nieto is a senior and the leader of the backcourt of the women’s court volleyball team. She known for getting her teammates involved, leading the team in assist three years in a row. Nieto competed in every set in 2014, who is only one of two players to ever do so. The Puerto Rican native accumulated 1,038 assists averaging 9.35 per set. In 2014 she tied sixth for most double-doubles with 14.
Nieto is a competitor on the court, but wanted to know her a little bit more outside of the lines.
We asked Natalie how she found her interest in volleyball.
I want to say it was around middle school when I was trying different sports and volleyball was the one that I fell in love with.
Going away to college can be difficult especially for kids who are not from the United States. Natalie is from Puerto Rico, which means change was big for her transition.
The Signal asked her what was her biggest obstacle moving to Atlanta?
The language barrier, definitely. When I first got here I knew very basic English. The girls joke all the time and say they thought I was super quiet and shy because I never spoke and that now they need to tell me to shut up!
What’s some of the things you miss the most about Puerto Rico?
The beaches, the weekends on the boats with my friends, the relaxed atmosphere, and the ability of going to the beach or the boat as easy as I can go to the park here.
When you graduate have you considered going back to Puerto Rico or to stay here?
I would like to stay in the states for a little longer and probably try different places before I decide to settle down. Also, my family’s still back home and home is always going to be home, so I feel I could go back anytime.
What’s some of your favorite things to do in ATL? Have you seen or met any celebrities here?
Try new restaurants. I think Atlanta is such a great place to learn about different cultures but also try food from all over the world. I would say that’s my hobby. I love to go and try new and different restaurant when I can. I’ve even thought about starting a food blog.
I’ve seen some pro athletes around Atlanta but I haven’t met any yet.
Do you have any celebrity crushes?
Which teammate is the best dancer & what is your favorite dance?
I feel like I’m going to get in trouble for this, but definitely it’s tied between Brianna [Jones] and Deidra [Bohannon] after me! I’m just kidding, they win because they can dance to whatever type of music. I love to dance salsa though. That’s like my hidden talent.
What are the teams favorite pre-game song and why?
We kind of have a whole playlist, anything that we can dance to.
What’s the coolest thing you did this summer?
I took summer school classes, just kidding, I got to go home twice this summer so that was kind of cool and I also got to go on vacations with my family for a few weekends too.
One thing you’re bad at and wish you were better at?
Being patient with myself. I’m pretty patient with others but I’m really impatient with myself if I don’t get things right quickly or don’t understand.
The team now sits with a 4-14 overall record and a 0-8 in conference record. Natalie Nieto and the Panthers will host UT Arlington Oct 23 in the GSU Sports Arena at 6:00 pm.