Sept. 8, 2011
Every Thursday, UCLABruins.com will sit down with a member of the women's volleyball team. This week, we sit down with junior Tabi Love, who discusses the first two weeks of the season, her role as the oldest sibling in her family and her fear of wells.
UCLABruins.com: What has been the key to the team's early-season success?
Tabi Love: We are playing with a lot of passion. We've been a little shaky in a couple of games, having some nerves from it being early in the season. But I think our commitment to each other and our love for the game has allowed us to come out on top.
.com: What are some of the things the team still needs to work on?
TL: We still have some communication issues. We need to be able to be more in sync and flow better as a team.
.com: How was the experience of going to Hawai'i? Had you been there before?
TL: I had been there once before on a recruiting trip. It was a lot of fun last weekend. From the few sights I saw, it is a beautiful place. More importantly, it was a lot of fun to play as a team.
.com: What was the atmosphere like playing in front of 8,500 people on Sunday against Hawai'i?
TL: It was awesome. The one great thing about Hawai'i fans is that they appreciate good volleyball. We could have won the long rally and they'll still clap for us. They are just so passionate about the game. It was refreshing. There was nothing derogatory and I think we absorbed the energy just as much as Hawai'i did, so I think that really helped.
.com: After transferring from Minnesota, how quickly did it take you to adjust to a new school?
TL: I think I got into a little bit more of my game on Sunday. That's what I'm used to. It really hasn't been that much of a difference. College is college. But fitting into the system and finding my role was the biggest thing for me.
.com: How often do you make it back to Manitoba?
TL: Not very often. I'll make it back at Christmas for a week.
.com: What do you miss the most about home?
TL: My family. They aren't going to be able to make it out this year because it's too expensive for all of them. But hopefully next summer they'll be able to come out. It was like an 11-hour drive to Minnesota, so they made the trip a few times last year.
.com: Do any of your other three siblings play sports?
TL: My sister KC (14) is going into grade 10 and is an avid volleyball player. She's a setter. Sami is 12 and she is a singer and a dancer. And Jay (8), my brother, just started playing football. He's playing with ninth graders, so there is a huge jump.
.com: As the oldest, were you in charge of keeping them in check?
TL: Yeah, especially with my brother because there is a 12-year gap there. I was definitely like a second mom to him.
.com: Is there any difference between volleyball in Canada and in the United States?
TL: The level is higher in the states for sure. There is also an emotional difference. In Canada, I was brought up to be very steady with my emotions. No big ups, because then you didn't want big downs. That was a big adjustment my freshman year, when everybody's cheering, jumping up and down and freaking out and I was kind of like, "OK, next point."
.com: You'll turn 20 on Sunday, Sept. 11. What do you remember about Sept. 11, 2001?
TL: I'm pretty sure I was in grade five. It was a big deal at school to have your name on the announcements for your birthday and all of a sudden they stopped the announcements for one minute of silence and I was really confused. That's what I remember, being really confused. We didn't get as much coverage on our television. My dad's side of the family is from the U.S., so it affected us in that way.
.com: What part of your game do you feel you need to work on the most?
TL: My blocking. I've always been the worst blocker and it's really funny because I'm the tallest person on the team. I need to work on my hand positioning, getting my feet to the ball and having big hands.
.com: Go through your pre-game routine?
TL: I have one superstition. If I do well in serve and pass prior to the match I'll keep my ankle braces on, even when we go back to the hotel. I won't change. If I do really bad, I'll take it all off. I'll shower. I'll be completely different when I go back for the match.
.com: What do you enjoy the most about playing volleyball?
TL: Being part of a team and being on the same page as a group of people.
.com: Does anybody call you Tabitha?
TL: No. I don't even really respond to it, but if I was in trouble, that's what I'd be referred to.
.com: What is your biggest fear?
TL: I hate wells. I had a manhole in my yard that we were never allowed to go near. I'd always look down it and be scared. And then I saw the movie "The Ring" and that didn't really help. I don't like heights and stuff, but falling into a well would be the worst thing.
.com: Who is the team's class clown?
TL: It's getting to be a tie between Nikki (Casale) and Priscilla (Duke-Ezeji). Priscilla is moving her way up there. They are both very energetic and are so fearless to put themselves out there.
.com: What are the best and worst things about traveling?
TL: The best part is coming back to your own bed. The worst part is airport security.
.com: If you could trade places with a celebrity for a day, who would it be?
TL: LeBron (James). Because I don't like Kobe (Bryant). I like being an athlete, so I wouldn't want to lose that aspect of it. But being someone who is more well-known and to see if it's all that it's cracked up to be.
.com: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
TL: Home first. Then maybe France. Growing up having to take French classes, you might as well see what it's about. I'm not very fluent in French, but I can get by.
.com: Who is your favorite professional athlete?
TL: I would have said LeBron, but (Chicago Bulls guard) Derrick Rose is making his way up there. He's pretty good. I love his game. I love the way the Bulls play in general and I feel like they are a really hard working team.
.com: What is your favorite website?
TL: Skype. I Skype my parents once a day at least.
.com: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
TL: Watching movies or reading. I like the new "Planet of the Apes" movie.
.com: If you could have one super power, what would it be?
TL: Maybe to slow down time so I could do more. Sometimes I get caught up and I feel like I'm not doing anything besides playing volleyball and going to school.
.com: Who has been the most influential person in your life?
TL: Both my parents. Their approach on how they raised me, allowing me to make my own decisions and supporting whatever I wanted to do. They are also very selfless. They sacrificed so much to drive and fly me places.
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