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Ashley Nu’u is no stranger to personal accolades.
The senior setter for the CU volleyball team was just named the MVP of the Colorado Invitational. But before she received this title on Sept. 9, she was hard at work. She received an honorable mention to the All Big 12 Conference for the last two years and was the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year in 2003. Nu’u currently ranks fifth on CU’s all-time assists list with 2,963, and was named to the USA National Volleyball A2 team last February.
This season, Nu’u is sixth in the Big 12 with 12.29 assists per game. But if you ask her what else she wants to accomplish before she graduates this spring, the answer might surprise you.
“I don’t have this whole thing where I need to be All Big 12 or anything like that,” Nu’u said. “I just want to make this team as good as it can be. If I accomplish all those individual things, then that’s great, but if not, it’s okay with me. I just want to help our team finish at the highest point that we can.”
Nu’u is convinced that this year’s team has the ability to go deep into the season.
“I think we can do special things this year. Our versatility with the middles is huge and our chemistry is great. We’re always in the gym, working hard, wanting to get better. I think this is going to be a really big year,” Nu’u said.
So far, the Buffs have shown some signs that Nu’u could be right. CU took the season opener against Denver on Aug. 25 before dropping three straight games to ranked teams at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic in Honolulu.
Despite starting off 1-3, the Buffs showed resilience by bouncing back to win five straight. CU started their winning streak at home against a 5-1 Cincinnati team in a game that Nu’u had a .667 hitting percentage and contributed 43 assists. In the Big 12 conference opener against 17th ranked Missouri, Nu’u recorded 69 assists, one off from her career high, to help the Buffs win 3-2.
The Buffs lost to the No. 5 ranked Texas Longhorns on Wednesday night, but Nu’u said she was happy just to have the chance to play in the game.
“Not many teams get a chance to play a top five team like this,” she said.
Coming out of Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Nu’u was the second ranked recruit for volleyball in her class. Although she had the option to play for many Division I schools, Nu’u chose to come to CU to play with her sister, Amber, and because of the coaching staff.
“I don’t want to say that any one player is the key to the team,” said head coach Pi’i Aiu. “But certainly with our young outside hitters Mallori Gibson and Alex Buth, Ashley is a huge part of our system.”
Amber, an outside hitter, was redshirted last year because of injury, but Ashley said she still loves being teammates with her.
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Nu’u said. “We’re both going to be someplace else in a couple months, so to have this time together now is great.”