Gopher Spotlight: Adrianna Nora

Go Gophers! Adrianna Nora
Go Gophers!
Adrianna Nora
Go Gophers!

Nov. 11, 2013

Adrianna Nora transferred to Minnesota after playing two years at Baylor. The Stillwater, Minn., native has played in 62 sets, has established 160 kills and averages 2.58 kills per set. In her 22 matches this season, Nora holds a .346 hitting percentage and in the past six matches, has had 81 kills. Here’s a short question/answer session with the opposite hitter.

Why did you decide to transfer from Baylor to Minnesota?
A: Mostly because of personal reasons, but I knew Minnesota had the type of volleyball that I wanted to play. I really wanted to improve as a player and have the opportunity to continue to play after college and internationally. Hugh is a great coach who opens a lot of options for players looking to get better. I was interested in being closer to home as well; I’m only 30 minutes away from a home-cooked meal. That’s definitely one of my favorite things.

Have your parents been able to come to more games? 
A: Shockingly my parents still came to a lot of my games when I played at Baylor. They would make the trip to Kansas State or Iowa to come see me play. Now that I play for Minnesota, they come to every single game. They feel badly when they can’t make it to an away game, but I love being home and having their support.

What was the transition like going from the Big 12 to the Big Ten?
A: We have to play our best game every day in the Big Ten. In the Big 12 there are some days when we can sneak by if we aren’t having the best game, Texas, Iowa State and Oklahoma ran the show, but up here in the Big Ten, any team can win on any single day. There are upsets every day in the Big Ten.

What adjustments have you made as a player since coming to Minnesota?
A: I’ve grown up a lot as a player and I can’t do what I always think is best. Coach McCutcheon coaches us to take the techniques and play for the team. After I got through my stubbornness and once I started applying his advice, it wasn’t a coincidence that I started playing a lot better.

Do you feel like you’ve been able to improve while you’ve been here?
A: There were times where I would get frustrated  and struggle early on, but I’m adjusting. The team has to be able to play at such a high level of efficiency, which forced me to learn a lot in a little bit of time. People who saw me play at Baylor, and then see me play now have noticed how much better I look as a player and how much I’ve improved. Coach McCutcheon not only changes how you play volleyball, but also how you live your life. Overall I believe my game has improved.

What is your major?
A: Speech learning and hearing sciences. I would like to work in the deaf education industry and eventually work with kids who are hard of hearing.

What was your first volleyball memory?
A: My first volleyball memory was actually watching my dad play at the gym. He popped his finger out of place during the game, but he popped it back in and kept playing. Personally, my first volleyball memory was when I tried to go up from the back row and take a big swing. I swung as hard as I could and instead of hitting the opponent’s court, I hit the back wall of the gym.

Is your dad the reason you started playing volleyball?
A: My dad, Marty, played at Pepperdine University in California and practiced with the U.S. National Team, so volleyball has always been in my life. He never forced me to play, but the more I watched him play the more inspired I was to go out there and give volleyball a try.

Being from Minnesota these probably weren’t some of your first matches seen in the Sports Pavilion.
A: No, I actually have been to a lot of Gopher Volleyball matches. I grew up in this building and I was a ball girl. I was paired with former Gopher Marci Peniata and she was my “big sister”  in 2006.