It was a dream come true when Nova Siegel ’19 (Fairfield, CA) learned that she will be continuing her softball career in Vienna, Austria, as a member of the Wanderers in the Austrian Softball League. “It was surreal,” Siegel said of reading the text message from Gabby Gonzalez, her friend and former assistant coach at Sierra College. “It still hasn’t hit me yet that I am going to Austria to get paid to play the game I love. It literally is a dream come true.”
"I knew that this wasn't something that most players could do."
From a young age, Siegel was destined for that moment due to her early commitment and unparalleled success in the sport of softball. She began her career at four years old as the youngest girl on the team and has thrived in the game ever since. “It is something that consumed my life,” Siegel stated. She realized that she had what it takes to play collegiately early on. “It dawned on me when I was 11 and was able to play every position,” said Siegel. “I knew that this wasn’t something that most players could do.”
Once she displayed her versatility on the field, people took notice and provided her the opportunity to “play up” with the older kids. Siegel vividly remembers a key interaction she had with an umpire on her 13th birthday when playing on an 18-and-under team. The umpire asked how old she was, and Siegel replied that she was turning 13 that day; his face displayed simple amazement and admiration. For Siegel, it inspired confidence. “The fact that I was able to hang with them at that age showed me that I was better than I thought I was.”
But Siegel is no stranger to adversity, as she has had to claw her way back on more than one occasion to the game that she loves. After receiving looks from schools such as St. Mary’s College at a young age, Siegel suffered a devastating injury to her shoulder and wrist in high school. The injury derailed her season and required her to take substantial time away from the field, which resulted in a loss of interest from many schools on her list.
Nonetheless, Siegel showed resiliency by bouncing back for a strong senior year. She continued to shine on the travel-ball circuit, but it proved to be too late because most schools had already filled their rosters by that time. As a result, Siegel took the junior college route. “That diminished my confidence a little. This wasn’t the way I thought things would go for me,” said Siegel. But she took the opportunity and saw it as a fresh start.
Instead of staying in the area to play at one of the local junior colleges, where she feels she could have easily been a top player, she decided to take her talents to a more competitive environment at Sierra College, with something to prove. She parlayed that experience into an offer to play at her new home for the past two years, the University of Redlands.