Christina Nye had extra incentive in June when the Owls played in the Division 1 championship softball game and she still has it.
With the Owls facing Concord for the state title, she couldn’t help but think of her devoted father, Dave, who passed away from a challenging bout with cancer back in February. He had helped coach her as a youngster and was her biggest fan.
“I definitely knew he was watching over me and I really wanted to get a hit for him,” said Nye, a junior leadoff batter at that time.
Nye did better than just get a hit. She had a clutch two-run double deep to the outfield that broke open the game, helping the Owls trip up favored Concord, 4-1, for the state title.
“I knew he was proud of me,” said Nye. “It was hard (losing her father) but softball helped me take my mind off it a little bit.”
The championship game proved to be a bonding experience for the entire family.
“We talked a lot about him (Dave) leading up to the game,” said Mike Nye, one of Christina’s two brothers and currently an assistant coach for the volleyball team. “We knew he would have wanted to be there and we talked about him being there.
“When they won and she (Christina) got that hit, it was like he was there. It (his death) was rough, maybe more for her because she was the youngest and had been close to him, but that was a big day for all of us.”
The emotional setback remains, but Nye is focused on volleyball now with the same determination and a similar drive to make her father proud.
“I still think about him because it’s my senior year and we’d been looking forward to this for awhile,” she said.
It may be tough for the Owls to match the success of the softball team, but coach Sean Hogan is looking for a big season with Nye leading the way.
“If it weren’t for (Dover’s) Molly Wotton (the reigning Player of the Year in New Hampshire), I’d put Christina up there with anyone,” said Hogan. “Christina can do a little bit of everything and do it really well.
“In addition to being our best hitter, she’s our best defender and she’s developed a nice jump serve. She’s just a great all-around player.
“I think as a team we’ll be eventually as good as we’ve been in awhile. We have a nice mix of players, but we rely on Christina a lot.”
For her part, Nye, a three-year starter, likes what she’s seen thus far.
“I think we’ll be pretty good this year,” said Nye, who was a libero as a sophomore before switching to outside hitter. “We’ve been playing all summer. ... I’m pretty optimistic.”
After volleyball, Nye will began preparing for the final softball season and helping the Owls defend their title. And then she’ll be deciding whether to play volleyball or softball in college.
“I like them both a lot, but I’m leaning a little toward volleyball,” said the 5-8 tri-captain. “It all depends.”
Whatever Nye decides, and however the volleyball and softball seasons turn out this year, she’s sure that her father will continue watching.