Just as the Rainbow Wahine volleyball program was set to get a key member back in head coach Dave Shoji, the team's best player, Nikki Taylor, could miss several weeks after dislocating her left elbow. The senior All-American suffered the setback in Saturday's scrimmage and is listed as week-to-week.
"I'm a little bummed," Taylor said prior to Wednesday's practice. "It's always hard to go through something that traumatic."
Taylor is coming off a junior season in which she was named the Big West Player of the Year in addition to a spot on the United States Pan American Cup roster over the summer, which she was hoping would parlay right into a successful senior year.
"I think that was one of the things that was really hard for me at first," Taylor said. "It's my senior year, I came off this amazing summer learning so much about myself as a person and as a player. To not be able to show that in the only way I can, which is by playing, and to be deprived of that is something that is emotionally really hard for me. You work through it day by day. It's hard, but it will happen eventually."
Taylor is no stranger to the injury, missing part of her sophomore season due to a right elbow dislocation before coming back to earn First-Team All-Big West honors.
"I know the things I can do, I know the limits I can't push," said Taylor. "It gives me this chip on my shoulder of knowing when to do things and when not to do things."
While Taylor recovers, now she'll have to be a leader from the sideline.
"I really try and do my best to help others do their best. Whether that's shagging balls or down-balling in practices or talking with someone that might be coming up and asking me questions about how to do things as an opposite. I'm just trying to fall into this role of being a resource for people."
The Rainbow Wahine open the season Friday against #4 Wisconsin in the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational and conclude the weekend against Kansas State and Arizona.
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