In doing so, her stats were stunning. On the soccer pitch, Nash was tops in the conference and sixth in the nation with 24 goals in 19 games — including a five-goal outburst in a 5-3 win at Luther. On the hardcourt, she was a playmaking machine — dishing out a league-leading 77 assists (5.5 APG) and 60 steals (4.3 SPG) in 16 conference games. In the process, she became Simpson’s all-time steals leader with 285.
“When she gets that turnover, not too many are going to catch her,” said Brian Niemuth, women’s head basketball coach. “And if there’s somebody in between her and the basket, she always does a great job of finding her teammates. To score as many points as she does while leading us in assists and steals is incredible.”
Nash’s head soccer coach, Jeremy Reinert, is in awe of her two- sport talents.
“I’ve never seen anyone in soccer or basketball take over games like she does,” he said. “To do that against the quality of opponents we face — that’s special.”
While basketball is her first love, Nash concedes that “I think I’m a better soccer player, just because it comes more naturally to me.”
Getting a Leg Up on the Competition
Being a two-sport college athlete wasn’t Nash’s original game plan. In fact, she didn’t play soccer her first year at Simpson. But she had a change of heart watching soccer games from the sidelines.
“When I actually saw the team play, I realized that I missed it (soccer),” said Nash. “I didn’t want to not play and regret it.”
So, as a sophomore, Nash joined the soccer team. After playing just seven games in the 2020 COVID-shortened season, she hit her stride in the 2021 campaign with 13 goals to co-lead the A-R-C. In 2022, she kicked her game into a higher gear.
“I think the game has really slowed down for her visually,” said Reinert. “She’s always been able to generate lots of scoring chances. But halfway through the season, she was cleaner and more particular about how she finishes, and that’s when her shooting percentage doubled.”
Nash has made her share of adjustments on the basketball court, as well, while playing three different positions. This year, she moved to point guard.
“We went through some learning early in the season,” said Niemuth. “She understands her role now, so next season she won’t have to think as much and just let her athletic ability take over, which could be kind of scary.”
Overcoming Injury and Self Doubt
It’s especially scary when you consider all that she achieved while playing most of the season with a torn meniscus. But while her pain- proof perseverance and elite talent have resulted in numerous accolades and honors in both soccer and basketball, Nash is a harsh self critic.
“Confidence has always been something I have struggled with,” said Nash. “Coach Niemuth is always telling me, ‘You’re the one person that doesn’t believe in yourself.’ His constant reassurance has helped me come a long way, especially since high school.”
Coach Reinert has sought to do the same with her, repeatedly reminding Nash that “we trust her.”
“She’s super selfless and humble,” adds Reinert. “She doesn’t even view herself as our best player. Part of my job is to help her understand she’s really good.”
“Cash is one of the best athletes I’ve coached in all my years,” said Niemuth. “With everything she’s accomplished, she could be a little arrogant — but there’s no arrogance in her at all. She’s just a very caring person who is always there for her teammates.”
Nash plans to take advantage of her COVID-extended eligibility to return for final seasons of soccer and basketball. Most of all, she’s excited for the chance to be back on campus doing what she loves with all the people who have made her time at Simpson so special.
“The community feel and how much everyone here cares about each other is going to be what stays with me,” said Nash. “Being a name at Simpson instead of just being a number in the classroom at a bigger school is another reason why I came here.”