Fawcett disappointed, but grateful for her time with Team USA

Former Raider addresses head coach Karch Kiraly’s decision to leave her off Olympic squad

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Shown in a match against Brazil last year in the Pan Am Games, former Benjamin Logan volleyball star Nicole Fawcett, center, was informed this week she will not be a part of the U.S. National team for the upcoming Olympics. (AP PHOTO | FELIPE DANA)

As she has done throughout her volleyball career, Nicole Fawcett is trying to focus on the bright side after suffering an emotional blow earlier this week.

Despite looking like a strong probability to make the U.S. Olympic team for the upcoming Rio games, the Zanesfield native was informed Monday by head coach Karch Kiraly that she will no longer be a member of the national squad. 

Fawcett had been part of the U.S. national team since 2009.

“I was very surprised but it was his decision, and he wants to win a gold medal,” said Fawcett. “Unfortunately, he didn’t believe that I would be able to help them in the way he believes they need. I am certainly not angry. I know I did everything I could. He just chose a different path that did not include me.”

Although her time with Team USA has come to an abrupt end, Fawcett still has fond memories of playing for her country. She says not being included on the Olympic squad will not tarnish all of the positive experiences she has enjoyed.

“The most important thing for me is looking back on the things I have learned and gotten better at, and mainly, the friendships that I made make this decision small when you put all of that together,” said Fawcett. “It’s going to take some time to get adjusted to life without USA Volleyball, but I had an amazing time and absolutely look back with no regrets.”

A tremendous ambassador of the local community, Fawcett has always had a great sense of pride for where she came from. The main focus of her drive to be an Olympian was to provide her hometown supporters an Olympic medal.

“The hardest part of it is the sense that I let down the people around here,” she said. “That hurts my heart the most.”

The decision came as a surprise because Fawcett had been a big part of Team USA in recent years. She was named the MVP and best opposite side hitter in leading the U.S. team to a gold medal at the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualifier. 

Most recently, she helped the team to three wins in the FIVB World Grand Prix in Hong Kong. In a match against Germany, she tallied a team-high 15 kills.

Fawcett plans to continue to play volleyball. She has played professional volleyball in Europe for several years and is not ready to hang up her court shoes.

“I will still play pro volleyball, I just have not decided where yet,” she said.