Nick Mizraji has only played volleyball for five years, but the sport is already a huge part of his life. He’ll be a senior captain for the St. Anthony boys’ volleyball team in the spring, but first he has to finish the girls’ volleyball season as the Saints’ team manager.
St. Anthony hosts Ontario Christian at 5 tonight in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 semifinal.
“He’s one of my favorite kids ever,” St. Anthony volleyball coach Alisha Lemau’u said of Mizraji. “The team and parents absolutely adore him.”
Lemau’u has had at least one member of the Mizraji family on her teams during her seven years at St. Anthony as both boys’ and girls’ coach. Nick’s older sisters, Claire and Madison, both played for Lemau’u. Madison was the libero on the 2016 CIF championship team.
“My freshman year at St. Anthony I was going to school with both of my sisters,” Nick Mizraji said. “They were on the team, and they were my ride, so I would just stay at practice and help out. That just progressed to me staying with the team.”
Mizraji had played a lot sports growing up locally, but didn’t try volleyball until he went to a HighLine beach volleyball clinic while in middle school. He said he liked the stop-and-start action, and took to the game immediately when he signed up for the indoor club season.
“I was so-so at first,” Mizraji said, “But once I figured out I could do it on the beach, I knew I could do it anywhere else.”
Mizraji was a freshman starter at St. Anthony, and still came back for his sophomore year as the girls’ team manager. Those duties include, but are not limited to, handling the medical bag and water bottles for every practice and game. Mizraji is also a major cog in the practice drills.
“I use him as a demo,” Lemau’u said. “He can put the ball anywhere I ask. Sometimes it’s scary to think I’m not going to have him next year because he does so much for me. He just knows the game and the drills so well, and that’s how we’ve all grown. He went from a manager to a mini coach.”
During both seasons, Mizraji said he’ll spend at least three hours with the volleyball teams every week day, and that he really enjoys being in the gym.
“I don’t know, I just thought it was a good time,” Mizraji said of spending that much time with volleyball. “Everyone was having fun at practice. It’s just a good environment with good people. (Lemau’u) welcomed me with open arms.”
“He’s our team rock,” setter Isabella Bareford said of Mizraji. “He brings positive, calming energy to everything we do at practice, at home and even at our away games. We all appreciate his time, thoughtful efforts and all that he does for us and the volleyball program.”
Mizraji, who has a GPA above 4.0, has also followed in his sisters footsteps by getting involved with the St. Anthony campus ministry under the guidance of teacher and coach Chris McGuiness.
“He and his sisters are some of the most genuine, helpful and kind students I have ever met,” McGuiness said. “Nick is an instrumental leader in the school campus ministry program, where he is involved in planning and hosting events that help enrich the faith life of the other students on campus. He’s quiet, and does his speaking with his actions. He’s always ready and willing to do whatever others need of him.”
Tonight, Mizraji will be on the St. Anthony sideline doing whatever his school needs him to do. Just like always.
PREVIEW: St. Anthony Girls’ Volleyball Hosting CIF Semifinal