Reflecting on a scintillating career
Teal Ericson finally can rest that powerful right arm, and future Nevada volleyball opponents are safer because of it.
The 2004 North Tahoe grad and University of Nevada senior smashed her final collegiate kill during a Nov. 16 postseason loss to Hawaii. It marked the end of an era ” one in which Ericson eclipsed Michelle More’s career kill total the day prior to move into third place on the Wolf Pack’s all-time kills list.
“She’s a phenomenal player, and she did a lot of great things for this program,” Nevada head coach Devin Scruggs said of Ericson. “She’s a very, very strong hitter. Some people just have natural talent, and Teal is one of those people.”
Ericson swatted 31 kills in two matches during the WAC Tournament, pushing her career total to 1,540. More had 1,512 kills between 1999 and 2002.
Like More, a player whom Ericson “grew up watching,” Ericson had plenty of court time to accumulate stats ” 419 games, 115 matches, to be exact.
“Teal came in as a freshman and pretty much never came off the court in four years,” Scruggs said. “She was just a talented player.”
A three-time captain and team MVP playing mostly middle blocker under North Tahoe coach Tom LeFevers, Ericson was voted to the All-State first team and earned Northern 3A MVP honors her senior year. Her junior year she was voted to the first-team All-League and second-team All-State, and as a sophomore received All-League honorable mention recognition.
At Nevada, Ericson was one of two Wolf Pack players voted to the All-WAC first team this season. She had been named to the All-WAC second team each of the past two years playing outside hitter on the right side.
Never settling for good enough, Ericson upped her kills-per-game average every year, starting with 2.65 as a freshman, followed by 3.17 as a sophomore, 4.09 as a junior and 4.78 this past season, when she drove home 468 kills.
Ericson, who described playing in her final college matches as a “bittersweet” experience, said she’s excited about what post-college volleyball life has to offer.
And while she’s ready to move on after dedicating so much time and effort to the sport, Ericson said in retrospect, she’s glad she didn’t alter her course.
“The thing I’m most proud of is sticking it out,” she said. “I’ve been here four years and given it my all. There’s been countless times when I wanted to leave. … A lot of times it was so draining mentally and physically. … But when I look back on it all, I’m glad I stayed. It was all worth it.”
Now, with her college career in the rearview, Ericson is looking forward to studying abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain, from January through May. When the semester ends, she intends to travel around Europe for a month.
“It’s one of those opportunities I’m excited to do,” Ericson said. “I’ve always wanted to study abroad. I can’t wait.”
Scruggs also studied abroad during her college years, and she highly recommends it.
“I think it’ll be one of the best things in the world for Teal because she’s been in the area her entire life,” the coach said. “The opportunity to see how people live in the rest of the world is a phenomenal experience. I think it will change her life.”
Ericson is playing by ear what she’ll do after her travels in Europe.
“I’m not a very big fan of making plans,” she said.
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