Student Athlete of the Week Addison Engel
August 2, 2023
Addison Engel understands that her upcoming senior season could be a little different compared to her previous three years with the Cougars.
After graduating six impact seniors from last year's 21-9 club, the Niwot High girls volleyball team has a considerably younger roster entering this fall, making the veteran Engel a crucial piece to this transitional period.
"Our Niwot team, in general, is on the younger side, whereas in the past we've been on the older side," Engel said. "We graduated six starting seniors last year. So right now, it's more about bringing in a new generation of players and helping them get to know Niwot's team culture."
The Cougars' culture, now fostered by Engel's father, second-year head coach Tony Engel, has produced both winning seasons and college talent over the past decade. In the past three years alone, Niwot went a combined 57-17, including an appearance in the 2021 Class 4A state tournament semifinals. While the younger Engel recognizes that player development will be a greater focus this fall, her goal of going deep into the postseason remains.
"We may not necessarily win quite as much as we have in the past," she said. "That's not really something I'm too worried about considering how well we all get along with each other and how great the culture is. I'm really just hoping to get as far or as close to a state title as we possibly can and possibly win one. That's never a dream you can just throw out. I really hope to accomplish loving my senior season and help leave a good mark."
Engel, for one, knows firsthand how time and hard work can yield success on the court. The now 6-foot-5 middle blocker played in just six sets as a freshman before producing 138 kills the next year, and 203 kills as a junior, earning second-team all-state honors.
As Engel improved, her college recruitment picked up and in late April, she committed to the University of Alabama.
"That actually kind of came out of the blue," Engel said of her Crimson Tide pledge. "I was looking at other schools, contacting other schools and Alabama just happened to be at one of our tournaments and saw me playing and reached out. I was on a very impromptu official visit. I loved the chemistry of the team, the chemistry of the coaches and the entire culture around sports in general, not just football at Alabama, but all of the sports, which kind of surprised me."
Engel added that finalizing her college decision ahead of her senior season was a "weight off my shoulders."
This summer, Engel played for the NORCO Volleyball Club's 17U Black Team, which won a gold medal in its division at the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships.
Her focus now, though, is on helping build Niwot's new-look roster. She mentioned Julia Dadey, Bella Berger and Sami Sessa as three teammates who could step up big for the Cougars this fall. Along with playing next to those three and others, Engel is looking forward to being coached by her father for another year.
"He has a passion for the game and learning about the game," Engel said of her father. "He's always trying to better himself, not only as a coach but better his team. The passion really, really creates a good culture."