KIRTLAND — Nia Nelson has a knack for producing quick points at the net, especially on defense.

The Kirtland Central middle hitter produces key stops and counterattacks, and she’s convinced she can help Haskell Indian Nations University right away after signing with the Fighting Indians volleyball program today.

“It’s really great. It’s another opportunity to step up a level and to continue playing the sport that I have passion for,” Nelson said.

Nelson said Haskell doesn’t give out volleyball scholarships, but she’s guaranteed a roster spot.

Nelson said Haskell, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics program in Lawrence, Kansas, sought a middle hitter who could get that quick block or quick kill.

Nelson had 56 kills, 48 digs and 14 blocks during her final year at Kirtland in 2017.

Nelson said she wants to improve her timing in setting up kill attempts. She said there were times last season she missed out on key scoring chances because she was sometimes a bit late to her spots.

She’s also leaving the door open to possibly transfer to an NCAA Division I program in the future.

“It has crossed my mind here and there,” Nelson said.

Teammate signs with American Indian College

KC setter Jerica Holiday joined AIC’s volleyball program today. Holiday said AIC, located in Phoenix, doesn’t give out volleyball scholarships, but she’s guaranteed a roster spot.

Holiday said AIC’s volleyball program is entering its second year of existence, and setter was a spot the team had to fill.

Holiday had 502 assists, 151 digs, 28 kills and 26 service aces at Kirtland in 2017.

As she prepares to play at the next level, Holiday said she needs to be more vocal on the floor, especially in critical matches.

“If you’re not vocal with your teammates, then it’s really just going to be a big mess,” Holiday said, citing Kirtland’s state quarterfinals loss to Artesia. “Everyone got nervous, they got jitters and I should’ve stepped up right there.”

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.