January 10, 2020 – By NJP
During the 2019 New Jersey Boys High School volleyball season, one player stood out as a truly dominant server and all around player. Nick Baquero of Elizabeth had the most “Aces” in the state. His total of 95 was almost 30% more than the second place finisher Jackson Edwards of West Orange who had 71. What is even more remarkable is that Nick accomplished this in playing just 52 sets. Old Bridge, the state champ, played 90 sets last season. His Ace/Set ratio was just off the chart.
But Nick is not just a great server. He also had 152 kills, 22 blocks, and 169 digs for the Minutemen making him one of the top all around players in the state as a junior. This year, Nick will lead a team with just five returning varsity players in a tough Union County league with SPF and Union as favorites.
Our experience with Nick over the past few months has been extremely positive. He is an articulate and respectful young man with high goals and standards. We are sure he will make the most of his senior year, on and off the volleyball court.
Here is our interview:
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Nick Baquero. I am 18 years old & I’m currently a senior at J. Christian Bollwage Finance Academy in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I live with both my parents and I have two older siblings; My sister Kimberly and my brother Erik. Usually, on my free time, I love to hangout with my friends at this super cool place called Acai Hangout. Such an amazing place!
How long have you played volleyball?
I’ve been playing volleyball for four years.
What inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
What inspired me to play the sport was watching college volleyball on YouTube. It motivated me to actually give the sport a try. Soon to find the love and passion I have for the sport.
Who is your support group?
One of my biggest support groups would have to be my parents who always show up to not only to my high school games but they take me to every club tournaments I have ever had. My second support group are my friends, always motivating me to become a better player on the court as well as become a leader. (Shout out to, Yelitza Lara, Yaniyah Dickerson, Ethan Espino, Lauren Freitas & lastly Efrain Correia)
How do you manage your time when playing a varsity sport?
Its very difficult managing my time when playing a varsity sport because I am not able to hangout with my friends because I either have practice or a game. But sometimes someone has to sacrifice one thing in order to do another. I can’t complain.
How will your high school team do in the upcoming season? Do you have a lot of returning players? What will be the key to success?
Honestly, I’m very confident that my team will go very far this upcoming season. Even though we’ve lost a lot of seniors last season we don’t let that affect us on the way we play on the court. My key to success is to be #1 in the state for aces again this upcoming season.
Which schools are your biggest rivals?
The school I would say is our biggest rival is Union.
Who is your favorite college or pro volleyball player and why?
My favorite college volleyball player is Kenzie Knuckles from Nebraska. I find her super tough to be a freshman starting libero for Nebraska and her skill level being on point.
Why do you serve so well? Special practice techniques? Key to success with aces?
A lot of practice is why I serve so well. Special practice techniques I would do is place cones on the opposite side of the court and try to serve at it. Trust me, it helps a lot with your serves. The key to success with aces is to find your balance when serving, toss the ball high enough & keep a positive mindset.