Love at first spike: Oregon State student-athletes, Josh Green and Nya Buckner, share their love story


Courtesy of Josh Green

Redshirt-sophomore football player, Josh Green (left), and redshirt-sophomore volleyball player Nya Buckner (right), posing for a photo after a football game against the University of Washington Huskies at Reser Staidum in Corvallis, Ore. on Oct. 2, 2021. The couple enojoying spending time with one another outside of their athletic commitments.

Hannah Lull, Sports Contributor

In the world of college athletics, it is very possible for a pair of star-crossed athletes from different sports to pursue a relationship with one another.

Josh Green, a redshirt-sophomore punter on the Oregon State University football team, and Nya Buckner, a redshirt-sophomore right-side volleyball player on the Oregon State volleyball team, are an example of this.

The couple first met each other last August in 2021 and became official on Sep. 14. So far, they have spent most of their relationship occupied in their respective sport’s seasons, since both football and volleyball are typically fall sports.

Green and Buckner knew of each other through mutual friends in the OSU athletic community for roughly six months before they furthered their connection at a party after one of Buckner’s volleyball games. The two immediately clicked and, from there, planned to go on a date.

“We went to Sky High [Brewing & Pub in downtown Corvallis] and ate dinner on the rooftop,” Buckner said, reminiscing about their first date. “We talked a lot about our families and life at home. We came from such different backgrounds, [and] it was really cool to hear about Australia and [Josh’s] journey to OSU.”

While Green and Buckner bonded over similar student-athlete lifestyles, they also connected over many social justice issues, including police brutality and racism in both the U.S. and Australia.

“I remember thinking immediately that he was one of the most socially and emotionally intelligent people I have ever met,” Buckner said.

They went on a few more dates before making their relationship serious. They started making more time for each other in their busy schedules, balancing school, practices and home and away games.

“During season, we wouldn’t spend as much time as we would’ve liked together but that honestly made the post-season a lot more sweeter, and we’re a lot more grateful for the time we have together because we understand that when we’re in season we don’t get that much time,” Green said.

Green and Buckner both agreed that finding time to spend together is the hardest part of their relationship and figured out most of their free time occurs during weekdays in between classes. Luckily, both of them understand student-athlete commitments and how important it is for each person to keep their sport one of their top priorities.

“We both have structure,” Green said. “We both have to wake up early [and] go to workouts. We both have class. There’s a mutual understanding of the time commitment of being an athlete and a student at the same time.”

Green and Buckner said they also help each other through good and bad days, as both understand how it feels to lose a tough game or have a difficult time during practice. They are able to provide reasonable advice and support to one another.

“We’ve both been through bad days so we’re able to be there for each other and we know the right things to say in those moments,” Green said. “I was watching [one of Bucker’s games] online… She was just coming back from an injury and she played very well. I just remember being really proud of her because I knew how hard it was for her and the commitment it took to get back from the injury.”

This athletic partnership was a surprise because both Green and Buckner were not actively looking to be in a serious relationship at the time. While they both would’ve liked to find someone, it simply wasn’t at the forefront of their minds.

“I was never actively looking for it,” said Buckner. “It was either our third or fourth time hanging out, I kind of started to realize that I was really into him and I really liked the conversation that we had. Whenever I was with him, I always had a good time. That’s kind of when I knew I wanted to be serious with him… I just happened to find Joshua.”

One of the couple’s favorite moments together is when they went to the Arizona Cardinals versus the Indianapolis Colts game over winter break last year.

“I went to Arizona with her and I got to spend it with her family,” said Green. “Obviously, being from Australia, I was far away from my family and it was really nice to be with her and her family, and be taken in and then [be] looking after me in the way that they did. It was really awesome.”

Both Green and Buckner are set to graduate in the spring, and said they are excited to take their relationship outside of OSU and into the real world. While they both have some additional eligibility, they hope to keep their relationship strong.

“Who knows what’s going to happen,” Buckner said. “The ultimate goal is to be together through it all.”

Green said they are unaware of what the future holds but determined to make it work. The two of them may stay at OSU to pursue their master’s degree, and if so, might remain a part of the football and volleyball teams.

“The one thing that is for sure is that we want to do it together—whether that’s here in Corvallis, in her hometown of Arizona, my hometown in Australia, or even a random spot one of us lands due to work or college purposes,” Green said. “We want to find a way to do it together.”

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