SWOSU Volleyball Player Profile: Senior Chezney Nielsen
Updated: Apr 1
By Greydon Buhlig
If you follow SWOSU Volleyball, then you have probably heard the name Chezney Nielsen. She is a senior, outside hitter for the Lady Dawgs and has been a consistent force in their attack. When I conducted her interview a few weeks back, she was 2nd on the team in kills. If you look at the statistics today, she is number 1 with 103 kills on the season and currently has 112 points herself on the year. Along with her offense, she has 73 digs on the year, including 10 blocks.
Her team has a current record of 5-5 with a win in their latest match against Southeastern Oklahoma State. Nielsen totaled 11 kills, 3 aces, and 6 digs in the match. Even with all of the impressive statistics, they don’t completely tell the whole story. The amount of work she puts in during practice and in the classroom, along with the energy she brings in day-in and day-out are the reasons she is one of the leaders on this team. She wouldn’t tell you that, as she is very humble and modest, but her teammates and coaches definitely do. Listen and watch as her head coach, Josh Collins, discusses how much of an impact she has on this team.
Collins highlighted something that I think goes unnoticed in a lot of athletes. Toughness. Yes, it is talked about and you hear it from time-to-time, but the majority of the toughness that analysts and reporters talk about is “in-game” toughness. What about off the court? How about the mental toughness when an athlete deals with injuries unknown to spectators and analysts? This is what Chezney Nielsen is all about.
In high school, back home in Roosevelt, Utah, she found out that she had a blood clot in her left arm and chest that took her out of competition for half of her senior year. She talks about how blessed she is that her coach from Snow College in Utah watched her play her first game back from her injury. She said in the interview that she “doesn’t think that things happen just by coincidence.” Her resume is also pretty impressive. Back in high school she all-stated in volleyball, got 3rd in the 3A Utah State Volleyball Championship, and ranked 2nd in the state with 4.8 kills per set. At Snow College, she led her team to a conference championship for the first time since 1980 and also earned all-state honors from 2 different newspapers in Salt Lake, UT.
Nielsen also knows what it means to not take anything for granted. One year ago, COVID-19 hit. SWOSU closed its campus after that and didn’t reopen till the fall of 2020. This canceled all the spring sports seasons, including volleyball’s spring season. She talked about how her mentality has been to take it day-by-day. She said that she and Coach Collins talk about “bringing the energy to practice… because if we don’t have a good practice, we don’t have a good game.” Nielsen also mentioned that not being complacent was huge for her as “we weren’t promised tomorrow.” COVID is still very real and alive, and it ruined a lot of teams in several sports, but she is just grateful that she and her team were able to play this spring season.
Her final game as a Lady Dawg will be Wednesday, March 31, against rival Northwestern Oklahoma State. Nielsen spoke a little about how much volleyball has meant to her over the last 17 years of playing. She said that she would tell her younger self, “Don’t be complacent. Don’t take that practice or that play off.” This is what a lot of senior athletes tell their younger teammates, and it is so true, but so misunderstood.
Nielsen and the Lady Dawgs' senior night will take place at 7 p.m. at home in the Pioneer Cellular Event Center.