Each week leading up to the MHSAA Semifinals and Finals, the Enquirer will count down the top five players from the city volleyball programs, revealing the ‘Greatest of All Time’ (G.O.A.T.) each Friday. Then fans will have an opportunity to vote for who they think is the G.O.A.T. at each school.
4. Linda (Popovich) Nicastro – Class of 1986
The Lakeview volleyball community knew it had something special when Linda (nee Popovich) Nicastro joined the team as a freshman in 1983. A 5-foot-4 setter, she eventually led the Spartans to two city championships and an appearance in the 1984 Class B state final. She became the first volleyball player in Battle Creek to be a four-time All-City selection, earning All-State honors while being a ‘Dream Team’ selection by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association following her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. She went on to star at Bowling Green State University, where she was a four-time All-Mid-American Conference selection and was the 1989 MAC Player of the Year. She still holds the Falcons’ career record for career assists (4,406) and ranks sixth in career digs (1,246) – both totals that were MAC records at the conclusion of her playing career. A three-time Academic All-American, she was awarded the prestigious Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship in 1990 – considered to be the NCAA’s highest academic award. In 1995, she was inducted into the BGSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
What the panel said: “A spark plug with great hands, athletic ability and a high volleyball IQ.”
Nick Buckley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley