By Brock Haroldson
For NM State Media Relations
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -New Mexico State Aggies defensive specialist Natasha Giacomazzi has never known a time that volleyball was not a part of her life. Her dad Jim Giacomazzi is the head coach of the Wayland Baptist team and Natasha shares her dad's love for the sport.
"We do talk a lot of volleyball. When we're sitting at home, it's always on our minds." Natasha said. While Natasha has not seen much playing time in her freshman season, she hopes to improve her skills and help out the team in any way she can. Natasha has played in nine sets and has five assists and a dig.
Some of the other ways she tries to help the team are to "celebrate big off the court, just talk to them, try and be loud for the team and just be positive." Natasha said she is working on her defense and her serve receives for when she is called upon by NM State coach Mike Jordan. Jordan was one of the reasons Natasha choose to play at NM State.
"I've known Mike for a long time and I know that he's a good coach and has got a good program going and I love the area" Natasha said. Jim Giacomazzi is the director of the Sun Country Region, High Performance volleyball team. He and Natasha had been on the campus of NM State for volleyball events.
"Mike's been a big supporter of the program, so we've been on campus three or four times for training so she's been here and know them for years so it was an easy fit," Jim said.
The knowledge of volleyball that the father-daughter duo share creates an interesting dynamic between them. "It's difficult sometimes, because me and my dad will butt heads at times, but we always try and keep good terms on everything," Natasha said. She also said that she definitely feels more pressure to perform because her dad is a volleyball coach. "It's constant coaching," Natasha said.
Natasha is majoring in secondary education at NM State and hopes to one day join her father in the profession of coaching volleyball. "After graduating I want to go back to Plainview (Texas) and be his grad assistant for a couple of years and see if I can get an assistants job over there," Natasha said. For right now, she is gathering coaching philosophies from her dad that she will use in the future. "Just be open, open minded to everybody and just keep learning about volleyball."
When Natasha is not learning more about volleyball, she enjoys many of the same things other college students. "I like to hang out with friends and watch movies," Natasha said. She is also a big fan of the Boston Red Sox and Dallas Cowboys.
Jim has been the head coach for Wayland for the past three seasons. Before that he was the head coach at West Texas A&M. From 1981-83 he played professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres.
Coach Giacomazzi has seen good things from his daughter's team. "They've got some great athletes, they're dynamic athletes who jump high and swing hard," he said. He also thinks the Aggies can make a run for the Western Athletic Conference Championship. To do this, NM State will have to dethrone defending WAC champion Hawai'i. "There's two great teams in the WAC conference. Hawai'i, and the Aggies," Jim said. It just comes right down to who plays hard against each other...I think they (Hawai'i) might underestimate what New Mexico State can do."
Before coming to NM State, Natasha played volleyball at Hereford High School in Hereford, Texas. She played setter and a libero and led her team to a state championship in 2008.