Bojana Todorovic is all about adapting to her surroundings.
When she was 9 she left Serbia with her family to come to America. At the time Todorovic, a former University High volleyball standout, believed she was leaving for vacation. But soon she realized it would be an extended stay.
She didn't get too homesick and quickly made friends. Her outgoing personality helped. It was just a sign of things to come. When she entered high school at University in Irvine, she knew she belonged and she knew volleyball was her sport. The game provided her with a future.
She's now a sophomore outside hitter/defensive specialist for the No. 11-ranked UCLA women's volleyball team.
Adapting has been smooth at UCLA for Todorovic because of her versatility. Throughout her career she has shown skills in passing, defending and hitting. She's also translated her game to the sand.
This past summer, along with Terra Roenicke, she won an international qualifying tournament in Long Beach. Todorovic also earned a spot on the USA women's beach volleyball under-19 team. But she was only allowed to train with the team since she is not a U.S. citizen yet. She said hopefully within two years she will become a U.S. citizen.
Until then she continues to adapt. She recorded 15 digs, one shy of her career-high, Friday, when UCLA lost to rival USC in four sets, ending the Bruins' eight-match winning streak.
Todorovic wants to help UCLA bounce back. She took time out to answer questions before the match against USC.
Question: What was your freshman year like, being named to the All-Pacific 10 Freshman team?
Answer: It was very unexpected. I've never done weights. I never practiced so intensely or extensively. I never lived my life around the sport. I found it to help me out. It gave me a routine to get me real focused. I played my best and did what my team wanted me to do. The coaches helped me practice. I was more than happy to step in and help out and play.
Q: What does your first name mean? How did you get it? Any nicknames?
A: Bojana (pronounced bo-yana), it's Serbian. I was born in Serbia. I lived there for 9 years. We moved to Long Beach when I was 9 because my mom got a job there … It's a Serbian name. I was told it means warrior. 'Boya' means color.
Most of the people on the court call me Bo and on the court we need people to call people something short and fast.
Q: How many languages can you speak?
A: I speak Serbian fluently. I learned English here. I've taken five years of Spanish. I can read it and understand it. I went to Spain two years ago. It was only a month and a half. We toured around several cities. I definitely want to go back some time.
Q: What goals do you want to accomplish?
A: This year I would like to get a lot stronger in the weight room and try to work with our trainers more, because we have a new coaching staff and they're bringing a whole new strategy to the game. It's a lot of information. I can learn a lot more. There's so much I can learn. I'm trying to get a lot more technical in my game: Hitting, passing and getting more precise. I like to bring a lot of energy to the court and I want to keep doing that.
Q: How did you become a volleyball player?
A: I was introduced to it by my mom. I did karate with my brother, Dimitri. But I went to one [volleyball] practice and I thought it was really fun. The more competitive I got the more I got into it.
Q: What's playing on your music list today?
A: Definitely some pump-up music to get ready for USC. I do like a variety of music. I like techno. I like the normal hits that are on the radio. Nothing really mellow. Other times, I do like to listen to Jack Johnson and John Mayer. [Friday] definitely something a little faster.