MADISON, Wis. (WIFR) Former Keith Country Day volleyball star Zoe Nunez was a key piece for Notre Dame's second bid in three years to the NCAA tournament.
The Rockford native learned a lot during her sophomore season including what it takes to play at the collegiate level.
"We like to play fast," said Nunez. "[It's] a lot faster than high school."
Nunez fulfilled preseason expectations and took home All-ACC first team honors. She started all 29 matches for the Fighting Irish and racked up a career-high 1,219 assists.
"I think my knowledge, as a whole, for volleyball this year and last year has grown immensely for the game just in general," Nunez said.
So much so that head coach Mike Johnson named Nunez a captain this year.
"I think Zoe has a tremendous heart," said Johnson. "Zoe has a tremendous gift, she can fight and I think she always does what's best for the team. I always think she's willing to put the team over herself."
Nunez says she's thankful for the opportunity to be a leader on and off the volleyball court.
"That was something that I was completely inexperienced at last year," said Nunez. "Really pushing myself to be there, not just for the coaches, but also for the team. Just tried to help lead and keep the team positive when we needed to."
With Notre Dame as the team farthest west in the ACC, Nunez says playing an hour and a half from home was the perfect way to end her season.
"It's been hard for them to come watch," Nunez said. "It was nice to have some love at the game from people in Rockford."
In 2020, Nunez will look to build off her strong sophomore campaign and lead Notre Dame back to the big dance for a second straight year, which the program has not done since 2006.