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Courtesy: Duke Photography
Nailah Waterfield Senior Profile
Monday 09/10/2012  -  Duke Sports Information
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DURHAM, N.C.- The Duke volleyball team earned head coach Jolene Nagel's 500th victory this past weekend against Northeastern and looks to continue its season at the Coke/Michigan Invitational at Ann Arbor, Mich on September 14-15.  Recently, GoDuke.com sat down with senior defensive specialist Nailah Waterfield to learn more about the Long Beach, Calif., native.    

GoDuke.com: What has been your proudest moment at Duke?
Nailah Waterfield: I think being a captain last year was a really proud moment for me. This program is amazing and it's really an honor to be a part of it. To get the respect from my teammates and coaches to lead this group is an honor for me. Also, to be able to compete in the big games and in the classroom is a proud moment for us to take advantage of that opportunity that is given to us.

GoDuke.com: What is your favorite part of being a Duke student-athlete?
NW: The community feel, the Duke family. It's truly amazing, all of the student-athletes are so close and we really respect everything that others do in their sport. It's great to go out and see the support of other teams and to watch other teams play, to have that close-knit family to be able to support each other is really special.

GoDuke.com: What has been your favorite class at Duke?
NW:   A class called Race, Culture and Development. It was an unbelievable class, a seminar with a lot of work but I loved every minute of it. I feel I really learned a lot.

GoDuke.com: What has been your most challenging class?
NW: I would say probably my cognitive psychology class. It was difficult to understand my professor and it was brain related, which isn't really my specialty.

GoDuke.com: Tell us about a time when you first started playing your sport.
NW: I started playing volleyball when I was in the fourth grade, which is kind of early. My father works at Long Beach State and both of my parents went to school there. So I grew up going to a bunch of their games and that's definitely when I fell in love with it.

GoDuke.com: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? What do you want to be now?
NW: I wanted to be a professional soccer player for a really long time. I played soccer for my entire life, longer than I played volleyball, so that is what I wanted to be.  Now, I love event planning. When I first came here, I wanted to be a wedding planner, but I am not quite ready to leave the sports world. So when I graduate, I want to get involved with a professional sports team and do event planning there.

GoDuke.com: Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
NW: Probably my sister. She is a year and a half older than me. I grew up doing anything she did and I would not be at Duke without her. She left for school at the University of Houston and as soon as she left she told me I would have to leave. I didn't look at any California schools, which it would have been easy for me to stay in California and play volleyball at a school there, like Long Beach State. Junior year (high school), I chose to leave and I would not have looked at Duke without her. She is a great person-she is so smart- I try to spend my entire life living up to her.

GoDuke.com: Do you have any hidden talents?
NW: My team says that I am a professional gift giver, but I'm not sure if that is really a talent. I can't really do anything random or cool.

GoDuke.com: What is the first thing you notice about people?
NW: I am a very observant person when it comes to people. I would probably say their sense of humor. I love people who have infectious laughs and make the whole room laugh.

GoDuke.com: What is the most embarrassing music on your IPod?
NW: I definitely have Disney soundtracks on there. That might be the most embarrassing.

-d-u-k-e-


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