The three-sport athlete in high school, Sierra Dawn-Nelson, is Clark Atlanta University’s floor captain for the 2018-2019 volleyball team. Sierra has been playing volleyball since the age of 12. With her second year on the squad, the graduating senior has already made a tremendous impact on her teammates, coaches and in school.
She started out her volleyball career by playing for clubs and recreational teams back in middle school. Afterwards, she was a three-sport athlete in high school playing volleyball, basketball and tennis.
Before making her way to Clark Atlanta University she played at a JUCO in California. After two years in being at City College of San Francisco, she realized that she wanted a career after college and began to work toward her bachelor’s degree. “I sent out my film to many different schools and I received an offer from Clark Atlanta so I decided to come here,” Sierra said.
Fighting through the pain. Sierra is the definition of resilient. Every practice and game bring pain as she has to wear knee braces on both of her knees. Still, with all the pain that her knees have brought her for the past two years, she still goes and plays every game like it’s her last.
“I’m a captain but I feel like those are also just labels. With me being the floor captain, whenever we get on the court, I am the designated captain. So, whenever there is a problem in the game, I am the one who talks to the referee, but I feel everyone plays a role on the court,” Sierra said.
After her first year playing for the Lady Panthers volleyball team, she became a SIAC pre-season first team player. She also has an impressive stat line with her 40th game with double-digit assists and counting.
“I think my playing style comes off as intense to my teammates. I am determined, loud when I play, and very bossy.” Nelson said. “It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net, we can beat anybody. I feel like I am being paid to do a job and we should do a good job every time.”
The Lady Panthers received a new head coach this season. “I love coach Jones, I feel like we have a coach that is going to push us and get us to where we need to be. Coach Val has a lot more experience and time to put into us,” she shared.
Wanting nothing but the best for her team, Sierra’s goal as a senior is having a more recognized and respected volleyball team at Clark Atlanta University.
Sierra will graduate May 2019 with a degree in Psychology and aspirations of becoming a teacher.