Thursdays With ... Zoë Nightingale

Oct. 27, 2011

Every Thursday, will sit down with a member of the women's volleyball team. This week, we sit down with freshman Zoë Nightingale, who talks about her return to Northern California this weekend, her love of swimming and her issues with laundry. How excited are you to go back to Northern California this weekend?
Zoë Nightingale: I'm really excited. I have a ton of family coming and my sister's volleyball team. There is going to be a big UCLA section.

.com: Have you seen your parents or been back home since you started summer school here?
ZN: We had a one week break between summer and fall quarters, but I was only home for a day. My parents have been to about five games, so I've seen them.

.com: When and why did you decide to attend UCLA?
ZN: The end of my sophomore year. I chose UCLA because it has everything. It's where I wanted to be. The school and the athletic program have great reputations.

.com: What is the biggest difference for you between living in Sacramento and Los Angeles?
ZN: I thought it would be going to the beach every day, but I've only been once over the summer. The biggest difference is that it is October and I can wear shorts and a tank top.

.com: How has it been adjusting from living at home to living away from home?
ZN: The biggest thing is laundry. I'm having some major issues with laundry. The biggest problem I have is doing it. I separate the colors and the whites. I'm good at that, but it's the act of doing the laundry I'm having trouble with.

.com: Your younger sister is following in your volleyball footsteps. What advice would you give to her?
ZN: I know that it's hard for me to say this because I don't always carry it out in my life, but she's really determined and she has the will to be good. I tell her it's all about her mentality and putting on a good face and never looking disgruntled. I know that it's something that I have a hard time with sometimes too.

.com: Have you always used the two dots above the `e' in your first name?
ZN: Yes. It's on my birth certificate. When I was younger and I wrote my name it used to be uglier because it would look like the lines on top of a smiley face. And there was a phase, around sixth grade, where I decided to write it with a Y at the end and erase the two dots and then I realized that isn't my name. I get really excited when someone else spells my name with the two dots.

.com: Were you always one of the taller people growing up?
ZN: Yes. I never really had a growth spurt. I was just kind of always taller. And then I get here and everyone is like 6-5. My dad's 6-5 and my mom's 5-6, so I got my height from my dad.

.com: How has it been adjusting from high school volleyball to collegiate volleyball?
ZN: One aspect that was hard at the beginning was dealing with scouting reports. I had no idea at first what any stuff on that sheet meant. But I've got it down now.

.com: When and why did you start playing volleyball?
ZN: Ten years old. My dad was my middle school volleyball coach. I remember when I was five going to the grass tournaments he played in because we didn't live by the beach. So he was into the game and that's how I got into it.

.com: What part of your game do you feel you need to work the most on?
ZN: Probably my hitting. I have a lot of things to work on. I need to hit with range. I need to open my hand more. There is a long list of things I need to change. But for now I'm focusing on keeping my arm up high when I hit.

.com: What do you enjoy the most about playing volleyball?
ZN: Even though sometimes it's not fun, the emotional roller coaster of the game. On the great days it's really fun, but on the bad days you know you need to work harder.

.com: What has been your most exciting moment on the volleyball court?
ZN: When I was 13, beating a club team from Hawai'i in Reno to get a bid to Junior Olympics. It was by far my most exciting moment ever, probably because I was 13 and it was so overwhelming to be winning a game because we weren't very good anyway. At that age, teams from Hawai'i are the best teams you could play. They got up and hit straight down during warm-ups and I was in awe. So to come out and beat them was really exciting.

.com: If you didn't play volleyball, what sport would you play?
ZN: I would do swimming. I love everything about swimming. I was going to be on my high school team last spring, but my volleyball coach wouldn't let me to protect my shoulder. But I really liked the atmosphere of the swim team. I still swim a lot. I was on a swim team from around age four to freshman year in high school.

.com: Go through your pre-game routine.
ZN: I used to be so superstitious and I've talked myself out of it because it started to get really bad. One thing I do is after pre-game meal I'll go buy a ProMax Cookies and Cream bar from Ackerman.

.com: What are the best and worst things about traveling with the team?
ZN: It's really fun to go see different places, because all the places we've gone to besides Hawai'i and Seattle I've never been to before. The worst part is being gone for the whole weekend for studying, and as a freshman being able to meet anyone.

.com: If you could travel anywhere around the world, where would it be?
ZN: Australia. I like the accents. It just really seems like a cool place. It's sunny and has a lot of beaches. There are things to do there.

.com: If you could have one super power, what would it be?
ZN: I'd want to fly. That'd be sick. And because I don't have any mode of transportation right now, I could fly to Westwood. Karsta (Lowe) and I are getting bikes at Thanksgiving, so we'll have a form of transportation and if it doesn't work on the hills we are going to put electric pieces on it so we can sit and let it push us up.

.com: Who is your favorite professional athlete?
ZN: (Speed skater) Apolo Anton Ohno. I get chills every time I watch him skate. My two favorites are him and (swimmer) Michael Phelps and my mom the other day found a picture in People Magazine that had the two of them together and I saw it and I almost started crying.

.com: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
ZN: I walk into Westwood a lot. Karsta is usually with me. But I keep spending money shopping and I need to stop. I really like yoga and I've always done it in my spare time. I need to find a good yoga place.

.com: What is your biggest fear?
ZN: I don't want to disappoint myself and others who care about me.

.com: Who is the team class clown?
ZN: That's a toss-up between Nikki (Casale) and Priscilla (Duke-Ezeji). They are always dancing before the games and it's mostly their dancing that gets me. They are funny.

.com: What is your favorite website?
ZN: Obviously Facebook, but I really hate it lately. Everything starts looking the same.

.com: Who has been the most influential person/people in your life?
ZN: My parents for sure. If I didn't have them I'd have no idea who I'd be right now.

Previous Thursdays With ...
Sara Sage
Katie Camp
Rachael Kidder
Kelly Reeves
Megan Moenoa
Tabi Love
Mariana Aquino
Bojana Todorovic
Lauren Van Orden
Karsta Lowe
Priscilla Duke-Ezeji
Olivia Okoro

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