Volleyball Spotlight: Jennifer Olivarez

Photo submitted by Jennifer Olivarez

Photo submitted by Jennifer Olivarez

Jennifer Olivarez, a senior outside hitter from Houston, is said to bring a lot of positivity and leadership to the Nicholls State University volleyball team. 

Olivarez started playing volleyball in the fourth grade and continued through high school when she decided to attend Nicholls to play volleyball.

“I started in fourth grade at the YMCA, played through all of middle school, played in high school at Stephen F. Austin. I played for Houston Stellar for five years. My senior year, I chose to come to Nicholls to play volleyball, and I’m a senior now, so it’s been a rollercoaster ride, but the end was worth it. I’m having a lot of fun my senior year,” Olivarez said. 

Volleyball has taught Olivarez many lessons, some of which seemed rough at the time, but proved to be good in the end. 

“It’s definitely taught me how to be a leader, communicate with others and to just grind through difficult times, so I think that is something I’m going to carry through the rest of my life…We’ve had a few coaches and we’ve had some bad seasons, so sticking through that and grinding it out… It wasn’t easy, it’s never easy going through losing seasons…It’s those bad things but they translate to good things. In the end, it’s taught me to be resilient in whatever I start,” Olivarez said. 

Olivarez said she is looking forward to competing during the rest of this season and getting to be with the team and celebrating with them. 

“[I’m looking forward to] competing and enjoying the last of my career with it, being with the girls and celebrating everything, the good and bad and, then, of course, the bittersweet moment will be senior night, just playing on this court one last time, being in front of Nicholls nation,” Olivarez said. 

Olivarez said she will also miss having her teammates with her every day after she graduates. 

“It’s going to be different not having them around me every day, having to make new friends, not having a group set out already to hang out with every day. I’m going to miss them a lot,” Olivarez said. 

Olivarez said she has applied to some graduate programs, hearing back from a few.

“I’ve applied to a couple graduate programs, ranging from public health to criminology, some nursing programs; I got accepted into two so far. The rest of the decision letters don’t come in until November or December. Right now, I’m not sure, but I know I’m going to be somewhere in January,” Olivarez said. 

Olivarez said she is proud of her academics, but her proudest accomplishment is winning a Colonel’s Choice Award. 

“[An accomplishment] I’ve always been proud of is, we have the Colonel’s Choice Awards, and we have this one award called the Unsung Hero award, and it’s basically given to a student-athlete whose work ethic may not be noticed in the games on the court but is an important part of the team. Each team nominates someone, so my teammates actually nominated me one year, but that was really nice to have, to know that your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed,” Olivarez said. 

Head coach Kallie Noble calls Olivarez a positive player and a great leader. 

“She is a great leader, and she does a nice job of staying positive and encouraging to even our younger players across the board. She’s super positive and encouraging and a hard worker…She is always working hard to be the best that she can be,” Noble said. 

Noble hopes that Olivarez continues to lead and continues to build the team up for more wins. 

Emily Gauthreaux, a sophomore from Houma, said that she has learned many things from Olivarez. 

“She has always taught me to be positive. Last year, I didn’t play much, and her freshman year, she didn’t play much either; she always encouraged me to be positive and be an achiever on the bench. A lot of the stuff I learned came from her,” Gauthreaux said. 

Gauthreaux has called Olivarez caring, encouraging and energetic. 

“She’s always encouraging of everyone. When someone is down, she is always there to bring them up…[She’s] caring, always energetic and she is alway’s one to make me laugh,” Gauthreaux said.