His coach says Nathan Tilley was "a crucial part" of Memorial Sea-Hawks men's volleyball this season, adding his presence and performance on the court was "well above the average rookie," but all the St. John's native wanted was to do his best and "bring all that I could to the team."
According to MUN coach Luke Harris, Tilley brought it in the toughest matches.
Tilley's "greatest matches," noted Harris, "were against the nation's number-one ranked team Laval where he put up some amazing stats with eight kills, no errors on 11 attempts which gave him an amazing .727 attack percentage."
Tilley, as it turned out, impressed more than his coach as he walked off with the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) rookie of the year honours and then was chosen to the Canadian Interunivrsity (CIS) all-rookie team in a year that saw his team go 1-17.
He led the Sea-Hawks in hitting percentage this season (0.240) which ranked him sixth in the AUS. The middle blocker also finished 13th in scoring (1.75 points per game) and 13th in blocks (0.44 per game).
For his part, Tilley, who is finishing his first year of engineering, said he didn't anticipate the success he had in his first year with the Sea-Hawks.
"There were a lot of other awesome rookies to compete against, especially on MUN," the six-foot-seven St. John's native said of a very young roster that also included first-years Josh Ennis, Jon Howell and Brad Jolliffe of Clarenville along with Chris Day of Harbour Breton.
"Dal has the funding to recruit some of the best players in the country," Tilley said of a Dalhousie Tigers team that has won the AUS championshp the past 24 years. "That being said," added Tilley, "this season MUN was mostly first and second-year players, whereas Dal's roster has a lot of fourth and fifth- year players.
"Given these circumstances," Tilley noted, "we still didn't let Dal win easily. There's no reason MUN won't give Dal a good game once we all get some more experience."
Meanwhile, an important factor in the team's developing chemistry is coach Harris, according to Tilley.
"He (Harris) didn't give up on us, even though we couldn't pull off a win," said Tilley.
"He has really put in a lot of time in fundraising for next year's recruiting. Hopefully, this will really give the team a boost and lead us to a win."
Harris said Tilley "gained some valuable experience this year and next year he will be a leader... and a dominant force for our team."
That will mean, according to Tilley, improving his blocking and serving skills.
"As a team, we need to become more consistent and competitive," said Tilley.
Date of birth: May 30,1991
Weight: 225 pounds
Born: St. John's Residence: St. John's
What's the worst part-time job you've ever had?: "Washing dishes."
What's on your iPod?: "Mostly indie. Modest Mouse is a favorite."
Favourite movie?: "It's a tie between The Kingdom and Hurt Locker."
Favourite food?: Nachos
Favourite city you've visited?: Montreal
City you'd like to visit?: Moscow
Notable: Tilley competed for Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2009 Canada Summer Games in Prince Edward Island and when he was asked what his mental preparation activity was, he answered "Eat." When asked why he chose volleyball, he replied: "I guess it's because I suck at basketball."
Finalists for the Ferd Hayward Senior Male Athlete of the Year Award:
Luke Adam of St. John's (hockey)
Justin Gill of Conception Bay Central (softball)
Joey Russell of Labrador City (figure skating)
Finalists for the Joe Mullins Junior Male Athlete of the Year Award:
Shane Boland of St. John's (softball/hockey)
Owen Daly of St. John's (swimming)
Patrick Parfrey of St. John's (rugby/hockey)
Finalists for the Elizabeth Swan Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award:
Laura Breen of St. John's (soccer)
Victoria Ralph of Carbonear (wrestling)
Victoria Thistle of St. John's (basketball)
Finalists for the Margaret Davis Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award:
Hannah Jardine of St. John's (basketball)
Hannah Rivkin of St. John's (soccer)
Katarina Roxon of Stephenville (swimming)
Finalists for the John Drinkwater Coach of the Year Award:
Jim Dunphy of Holyrood (softball)
Pat Parfrey of St. John's (rugby)
Noel 'Jake' Stanford of St. John's (soccer)
Finalists for the Graham Snow Executive of the Year Award:
Ross Crocker of St. John's (softball)
Kathy Jackman of Mount Pearl (gymnastics)
Andrew Orsborn of St. John's (rowing)
Finalists for the Edward Brown Team of the Year Award:
Holy Cross/The Dock Challenge Cup men's soccer team
Kelly's Pub Junior Canadians junior men's softball team
The Rock U18 Canada Games men's rugby team