Tea Nieminen Hieta Athlete Profile

#2 Tea Nieminen Hieta

Tea Nieminen Hieta
Position: Outside Hitter Height: 5-11 Roster Years: 1988-1992 Hometown: Lahti, Finland Hall of Fame: 2007 Last School: Salpoussellea High School

  • 2007 Women's Volleyball




All-America

  • 1990 AVCA Second Team
  • 1990 Volleyball Monthly Honorable Mention
  • 1992 AVCA Second Team
  • 1992 Volleyball Monthly Third Team

2007 Hall of Fame Inductee

Tea Nieminen was said to have a jump serve feared by opponents. Her powerful hitting and stellar defense led BYU to the first Western Athletic Conference women's volleyball title. 

The outside hitter, who helped lead the BYU team to a 28-game winning streak in 1992, finished her BYU career as one of the best women's volleyball players the program has seen. She is second all-time at BYU with 5.22 kills per game in 1990 and third all-time at BYU with 1,770 career kills. Nieminen is also tied for third all-time at BYU with 35 kills in a match. 

Nieminen's defense also proved her talent as an athlete. She is second all-time at BYU with 1,269 career digs and sixth all-time at BYU with 370 in 1990. 

As a result of her athletic performance, Nieminen received numerous awards. She was named an All-American four times, twice by Volleyball Monthly and twice by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. In addition, Nieminen was a two-time WAC Player of the Year, a three-time first-team all-conference selection and a two-time AVCA All-West First Team honoree. 

BYU coaches recruited and signed Nieminen, originally from Lahti, Finland, without even seeing her athletic capabilities. Nieminen was actually recommended by a teammate who had played with her on the National Team in Finland and was offered a spot on the Cougar team. 

One moment doesn't stick out over another for the All-American. Actually, Nieminen's favorite part of playing volleyball for BYU was playing in the Smith Fieldhouse in front of a home crowd. She also treasures the life-long friendships she made while being part of the team, girls she still keeps in contact with. 

Away from the court, Nieminen excelled in the classroom. She spent all four years as a Cougar Club Scholar Athlete. Nieminen was also named High Country Athletic Conference and WAC Scholar Athlete. 

After graduating with a degree in German, Nieminen went on to play professionally. She returned to Finland for two seasons and helped her team win a championship the first year. 

Nieminen is married to Steve, whom she met at BYU. They have two boys and currently reside in Utah.

Personal

  • B.A. in German from BYU
  • Married to Steve and has two boys
  • Currently resides in Utah

Career Highlights

  • As a starter on the Finnish National Team was named to the 1990 All-Tournament teams of the Spring Cup and Scandinavian Championships
  • Ended the 1990-91 collegiate season ranked third in the nation in kills per game (5.224)
  • Held BYU record for career digs (986)
  • 1990 WAC Player of the Year
  • Second Team Academic All-WAC in 1990
  • First Team All-Region in 1990
  • Honorable Mention Volleyball Monthly All-American in 1990
  • Second Team AVCA All-American in 1990
  • 1988, 1989, 1990 Cougar Club and HCAC Scholar-Athlete    
  • Had career highs of 20 kills, .382 hittings and 18 digs in 1988         
  • Voted All-HCAC in 1989
  • Cougar Club Crowd Pleaser

Before BYU

  • Former member of Finnish Junior National Team
  • High school and national Finnish volleyball scholarship member
  • Member of the Finnish Senior National Team with former Cougar Mariliisa Salmi

After BYU

  • Went on to play professionally for Finland for two seasons

Post BYU Honors and Societies

  • Helped Finland to a world championship
  • Inducted into the BYU hall of fame 2007


1988 | Freshman Year

  • Played in every match as a freshman 
  • Had career highs of 20 kills, .382 hittings and 18 digs
  • Cougar Club and HCAC Scholar-Athlete

1989 | Sophomore Year

  • Missed the first eight BYU matches to start for the Finnish team in the European Championships
  • Averaged 3.9 kills and 3.2 digs 
  • Named to all-tournament teams for the Tucson Hilton Classic and the Kentucky Invitational 
  • Voted All-HCAC 
  • Had career highs of 31 kills, .500 hitting percentage and 24 digs
  • Cougar Club and HCAC Scholar-Athlete 

1990 | Junior Year

  • Ended the 1990-91 collegiate season ranked third in the nation in kills per game (5.224)
  • Held BYU record for career digs (986)
  • Named to the All-Tournament teams of BYU Mizuno Classic and Nebraska FirsTier Invitational
  • MVP of the BYU Invitational and the Colorado State Conference Challenge
  • Logged 30 or more kills five times last season, including a career-high 35 against Colorado State
  • WAC Player of the Year
  • Second Team Academic All-WAC 
  • First Team All-Region
  • Honorable Mention Volleyball Monthly All-American
  • Second Team AVCA All-American in 1990
  • Cougar Club and HCAC Scholar-Athlete
  • Co-captain

1991 | Redshirt Year

Redshirted due to knee surgery before the season