When a team experiences the type of roster turnover Waseca saw this season it naturally needs a leader. The Bluejays had senior setter Megan Nelson.

The setter position naturally sets up as the team’s chief communicator and it’s also one that fits Nelson’s personality. The setter has to learn the preferences of each hitter to put them and the team in a position to succeed. That perfectly suits Nelson.

“I think the setter is such a fun role on the team because you get to be that link between your hitters,” she said. “I love when you get to set someone and they get a kill.”

Nelson’s role as a facilitator and skill as a setter made her the choice for the Waseca County News’ All-Area Player of the Year.

Nelson, a two-time Big South Conference all-conference honoree, did her job with zeal and did it well. She racked up 1,000 career assists by the end of her junior year. She finished her career with 1,227 assists, 200 of which came this season. Nelson also had 503 career digs and led Waseca this season with 132.

As uncertainty about the 2020 high school season swirled during the summer and into early fall, Nelson’s passion for the game led her to seek out any court she could find. She landed a spot with the club team, Minnesota Attack, out of Mankato, even though it meant playing a different position. Nelson welcomed a move to libero, in part, because she got to learn more about passing, which could help her setting. Nelson hadn’t had much opportunity to pass out of the back row the previous two seasons.

Nelson caught Bluejays head coach Jolene Hauger’s eye as an eighth-grader when Hauger coached the C squad.

“She just has those natural soft hands that every coach drools over when looking for a setter,” Hauger said.

Nelson moved up to the C squad as an eighth-grader, then landed on varsity for a few matches as a freshman. She took over as the team’s setter in her sophomore year.

“She runs our offense,” Hauger said. “She has to be extremely knowledgeable on the hitters’ needs. She’s just a smart player.”

The reward for Nelson lied in setting up others, growing their confidence and building relationships with teammates.

Nelson also stars on the golf course and has appeared in the state tournament. She’s considering pursuing the game collegiately, though it’ll have to fit in with her academic priorities. Nelson’s considering a biology major on a pre-med route to becoming a doctor.

Reach Sports Editor Nick Gerhardt at 507-444-2375 or follow him on Twitter @OPP__Sports. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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