Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
NIWOT — This past fall, the Niwot volleyball team reached the Class 4A state championship game for the first time in 27 years and finished the season as runners-up in the state.
It took a lot of talent and a lot of determination for them to do it.
Though accomplishing a feat that no other Cougars squad in nearly three decades could certainly was a team effort, Emma Falk seemed to be right in the middle of everything the Cougars did. For her balanced and consistent presence, and in some of the season’s most critical moments her dominant efforts, Falk is the 2018 BoCoPreps.com player of the year.
“Making it to the finals was amazing,” Falk said. “It’s definitely a feeling that’s going to stay with me for my whole life. That was our goal since freshman year and it was an incredible feeling to be able to get it done.”
A senior middle blocker who will play at College of Charleston next season, Falk led the Cougars with 355 kills and a .401 hitting percentage. Northern League co-player of the year along with Longmont’s senior setter Annika Wetterstrom, Falk also had 45 aces, 91 blocks and 242 digs, each of which was second on the Cougars team. Her versatile production combined with her surprisingly smooth athleticism at 6-foot-3 made Falk a Division-I recruit.
Once the Cougars reached the state tournament, however, Falk took her game to another level. Not only was it a level that proved to be the driving force behind the Cougars’ tournament run, but it also was one that left an impression on every coach the Cougars senior faced.
After racking up 16 kills and eight blocks against Cheyenne Mountain in the second round of the 4A bracket, Falk led the No. 3-seeded Cougars to a victory with 18 kills and five blocks against Holy Family in the quarterfinals. With her team missing injured outside hitter Audrey Richard in the semifinals against Longmont, Falk led the Cougars to a dominant three-set victory with 27 kills that propelled the Cougars into the championship match.
“Our team was just really cohesive and meshed this year,” Falk said. “We all had the same goal in mind and worked super hard over the course of the season and it turned out to be really special.”
Falk is the second straight BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year from Niwot. Mackenzie Fidelak won the award as a senior in 2017.