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Volleyball Player Wins Football Title

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nelko

Jessica Nelko ’10 played volleyball for the Colonials, but now she can also boast about her gridiron exploits. Nelko is a starting defensive end for the Pittsburgh Passion, who on July 26 won their second women's football title, demolishing the Houston Energy 41-7 for the Independent Women's Football League championship

Nelko was named an Eastern Conference All-Star, with a team-high five sacks and 26 tackles during the regular season. “A few people got in my way this year,” she says.

That’s putting it mildly. The Moon Township resident and Hopewell native has an impressive history of athletic achievements. She not only played on the Colonials NCAA Div. I volleyball team, she has also coached club teams.

Nelko graduated from Robert Morris University with a B.A. in environmental science. After an undergraduate internship with Pittsburgh-based natural gas producer Atlas Energy. She now works there full time as an environmental specialist.

“I was so used to balancing sports with school and work, I felt there was a void without it," Nelko says. When she read an article about the Passion winning the 2012 Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year award as a team, she became intrigued. An email to the coach quickly led to a tryout, and her becoming a regular gladiator on the gridiron.

Nelko is not the first RMU alum to wear the Passion's black and gold. Accountant Laurie Roberts M’04, M’05 played fullback several seasons and was a member of the 2007 championship team.

Nelko is not the first RMU alum to wear the Passion's black and gold. Accountant Laurie Roberts M’04, M’05 played fullback several seasons and was a member of the 2007 championship team.