With prolific numbers and three Big Sky Conference Player of the Year honors on their resumes, duo also attains high marks in the classroom
Seniors Hayley Hills and Matt Nichols, a pair of Eastern Washington University student-athletes with prolific statistics as players, have been selected as EWU's Scholar-Athletes for the month of November.
Hills is an interdisciplinary studies major from Quesnel, B.C., and graduated from Correlieu Secondary School in 2006. Nichols is a business management major who graduated in 2005 from West Valley High School in Cottonwood, Calif.
Both finished their careers as first team All-Big Sky Conference selections as EWU had runner-up finishes in the Big Sky Conference regular season in both volleyball and football in 2009. Between them, they won a trio of BSC player of the year awards and 11 league player of the week accolades.
Hills helped EWU win 51 matches from 2006-09, and climbed into the second spot on Eastern Washington's career kills list with 1,428. Her total only trails the school record of 1,860 set by Kim Exner (1995-98), and also ranks 19th all-time in Big Sky Conference history.
Hills was selected to the All-Big Sky Conference first team for a third-straight year in 2009, including the Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player award as a junior. She finished her senior season with a team-leading 375 kills (3.50 per set) and ranked second on the team in digs with 292 (2.73 per set).
Following impressive performances in wins over Montana and Montana State in September, Hills was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week. Hills also earned POW honors on four occasions as a junior and once as a sophomore.
Nichols is the Big Sky Conference all-time passing leader and was the league's Offensive Player of the Year in both 2007 and 2009. Nichols helped the Eagles to 26 victories and a pair of FCS Playoff berths, and broke 14 school records and six Big Sky Conference marks.
He passed for 3,830 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior, giving him a total of 12,616 passing yards, 13,308 yards of total offense and 96 touchdown passes in his career. Both career yardage marks rank sixth in FCS history, and his TD total is 10th.
For his efforts in 2009, he was selected as Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week three times as a senior and six times in his career. He also earned a pair of national player of the week honors as a senior. In his last six games alone, Nichols completed 64 percent of his passes for an average of 383.5 yards per game (2,301 total), 23 touchdowns, one interception and a passing efficiency rating of 162.7. He had at least 400 yards in his last three games, and four of his last five.