Nov. 23, 2015

Freshman Rebecca Nunge is an outside hitter from Newburgh, Indiana. As a senior at Castle High School, she was named a third team Under Armour All-American. She guided Castle High to sectional and conference championships and was a team captain during her senior year. She enrolled early at Notre Dame and earned Dean’s List honors for the Spring 2015 semester.

This year she has played in 29 of 30 matches and earned 23 starts. She is third on the team in kills (177) and blocks (84).

As told to Nick Beals (’18)

Q: What is your dream vacation?
A: A trip around Europe where I backpack on my own. I like the independence aspect of it.

Q: If you had to play a sport other than volleyball, what would it be?
A: Basketball. I played all through high school and could have played in college but choose volleyball instead.

Q: What is your favorite book/book series?
A: The Divergent series. I read through them so quickly and read them like 10 times.

Q: What kind of car do you drive?
A: I drive a lime green Ford Fiesta.

Q: What is your favorite animal?
A: A Dog. I like the companionship and love dogs so much.

Q: What is one thing you can’t live without?
A: I couldn’t live without chocolate.

Q: Who are your favorite professional athletes?
A: My cousin, Chelsea Poppens, plays professional basketball. She played in the WNBA. She’s been the one I’ve grown up wanting to be like. My favorite celebrity athlete would be Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors).

Q: If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?
A: Beyonce.

Q: What are your greatest volleyball accomplishments?
A: My high school broke the state record for the most sectionals won [in Indiana state history with 22 straight sectionals victories]. I was also an Under Armour All-American in high school.

Q: Why did you start playing volleyball?
A: Growing up, my parents always had me and my siblings play as many sports as we could. I played soccer, track, swimming, cross country, basketball and volleyball. Basketball and volleyball ended up being the two that I just stuck with. I ultimately enjoyed volleyball more.

Q: What made you decide to enroll early at Notre Dame?
A: I was so ready for college when I made my decision to come to Notre Dame. I’m also pre-professional in science, so coming a semester early made it so I only had to take 12 credit hours during the season. Academically, it’s making my load a lot easier for the rest of college because I got 18 credit hours out of the way.

I was pretty raw coming in — I never had anyone teach me the game [volleyball], I just played it. In my hometown, there’s not a whole lot of good volleyball, so I wouldn’t have gotten better staying my senior year. Coming early helped me get integrated with the team. It was really advantageous for the season and gave me a lot of confidence going into the first match because I had already been playing at this level for so long.

Q: How are you transitioning from being the star in high school to having to prove yourself as a freshman?
A: I kind of expected it coming in because this is Notre Dame. You come from being the best student or best athlete at your school, you get here, and you know that you’re the bottom of the food chain again. I have worked extra hard to prove myself. It’s not individual — volleyball is a team sport — so I’m working hard so that the team can be good.

Q: Why did you choose Notre Dame?
A: When I came on my visit, I knew within five minutes that this is where I was meant to be. I knew in my heart that this is where God wanted me to be. I fell in love with the tradition that you can feel when you walk around campus. I knew that I was going to get a world-class education and was going to have so many opportunities after college and during college. Volleyball-wise, I know that the standards for every Notre Dame athletic team are so high that I fully believe that in my time here, Notre Dame will be contending for a national championship in volleyball.

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