Nov. 24, 2006
Every week UABsports.com sits down with a member of the UAB volleyball team to get the inside scoop on what's going on with the team on the court as well as what the athletes are up to off the court. This week we take an inside look at UAB volleyball and the life of sophomore setter Nevena Stefanov. Stefanov, a native of Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro, has been named Conference USA Setter of the twice and currently ranks third in school history in career assists.. She is averaging 12.71 assists per game this season and has helped lead the Blazers to 13-straight triumphs and a Conference USA Tournament title. Now read on as we go 'On Court' with Nevena Stefanov...
UABsports.com: "So Ivana (Bozic), Aleksandra (Vujovic) and yourself all came here from Serbia & Montenegro last year, did you all know each other before you came here?"
Nevena Stefanov: "I knew them but they were playing for other teams so we didn't like one another that much you could say."
UABsports: How long had you been playing against them?"
NS: "Probably like seven or eight years I would guess."
UABsports: "Being from Belgrade, what's the best thing to do there?"
NS: "Go out with friends."
UABsports: "Where is your favorite place to go with your friends at home?"
NS: "This place called Freestyler."
UABsports: "How did you find out about UAB?"
NS: "Our co-interim coach from last year (Nikola Petrovic) was from Serbia-Belgrade and I was looking for a college here in America, since my brother was here (basketball player at IUC), and I had some other options and then he called and said he needed a setter and asked if I'd come here. I felt comfortable with him because he was from my place, so I figured that that was the safest way to go to America. I didn't know much about him and we didn't know what to expect from each other, I didn't know what to expect from volleyball here."
UABsports: "Is the game different here?"
NS: "Yeah it is. It's longer, because back home we play to 25 instead of 30."
UABsports: "You were named Conference USA Setter of the Week for two of the last three weeks of the regular season. Do you feel anything has changed and that you've gotten better throughout the year?"
NS: "I've definitely gotten better with hard work but I think the whole team got better at one point. I'm the one playing setter, so I'm not starting points and I'm not finishing points, so if I don't have good passers and good hitters, then I can't do anything. I think it's been a team effort."
UABsports: "You've won 13-straight, what are your thoughts on the season? "
NS: "Usually teams try to peak at the end of the season, but it's usually hard to do. Usually teams are strong at the beginning and then by the end they are falling apart and I think this is a great team, because at the moment I think some people are scared of us."
UABsports: "What's your favorite team to play against?"
NS: "I would say Marshall. Marshall and East Carolina were awesome teams but I'd say Marshall."
UABsports: "If you could trade places with any person for one day, who would it be?"
NS: "No person. I love my life."
UABsports: "If you could have dinner with five people, past or present, who would you invite?"
NS: "My parents and my brother, who is up in Chicago and my mother and father are in Europe, so I would like some family dinner."
UABsports: "Do you have any pre-match rituals?"
NS: "I usually put my gum in my pocket, but I don't use the gum."
UABsports: "Have you ever met anyone famous?"
NS: "I've seen some basketball players in Serbia."
UABsports: "If there were going to be a movie based on your life, who would play you and what would the film be called?
NS: "Julia Roberts and it would be called...'Princess of Serbia'."
UABsports: "Who from this team is most likely to be famous?"
NS: "Um...Aleks (Vujovic), she's a singer (laughter)."
UABsports: "We've actually heard that before. What's one thing about you that most people don't know?"
NS: "Most people don't know that I had very short hair five years ago, like an inch long."
UABsports: "If we asked your roommate(s) to describe you, what would they say?"
NS: "Her room is clean but outside she doesn't care."
UABsports: "You came here to play for a different coaching staff. What has it been like playing for this new staff?"
NS: "I really feel positive about them because they give us freedom on the game and out of the court because they believe in us and that we won't do something stupid on the court or away from it. That's good for us because we know they're supporting us and they truly believe what they do and are direct with what they expect and are always giving feedback. They just bring some great spirit to the team."
UABsports: "Who's the best dancer on the team?"
NS: "Andrea (Lalic) is trying to be (laughter)."
UABsports: "Who's the best singer?"
NS: "Aleks (Vujovic)"
UABsports: "Funniest teammate?"
UABsports: "Most inspirational teammate?"
NS: "Brianna Galvin."
UABsports: "Where's your favorite place to eat in Birmingham?"
NS: "I don't know, it's all the same."
UABsports: "How about in Serbia?"
NS: "This place called Keops. It's like a pancake place"
UABsports: "What's your favorite movie?"
NS: "Forrest Gump or Pulp Fiction."
UABsports: "Favorite song?"
NS: "Eye of the Tiger."
UABsports: "Favorite TV show?"
NS: "Sex and the City."
UABsports: "Okay. Now after you're done at UAB , do you plan to go back to Serbia or do you want to stay here?"
NS: "I'd like to stay in America or travel around the world but Serbia is always an option as well."
Until next time...Go Blazers!