CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - UNC volleyball will hold its senior day on Nov. 17, and leading up to the match against Virginia, GoHeels.com will profile each of the four Tar Heel seniors. This week gives an inside look on Tia Gaffen, a middle blocker from Wayzata, Minn.
Gaffen has played in 70 of Carolina's 85 sets so far this season, starting 20 of the 23 matches. She is averaging a .299 attack and 1.03 blocks/set.
"Tia has been a great addition to our program after transferring to Carolina and playing for us these past two seasons," UNC head coach Joe Sagula said. "She has been a high-level player who helps raise the level of team play with her experience and competitiveness."
Q&A wth Tia Gaffen:
GoHeels.com: When and how did you begin playing volleyball?
Tia Gaffen: My mom played volleyball in college (University of Wisconsin) and was a coach when I was growing up. I started shagging balls for her high school team as soon as I could walk. When I got older I would pepper with her in the backyard and in 8th grade I played my first year of club volleyball at Minnesota Select.
GH: What has been the most memorable match of your career at Carolina?
TG: Beating Cal in the first round of NCAAs in 2011. I transferred from there following the 2010 season so to play, and beating my former teammates and coaches was an unreal experience. Furthermore, in 2010 they made it to the national championship and were ranked 10th when we beat them so it was awesome validation for how hard we worked as a team that year to beat a team so highly ranked.
GH: What would you like to accomplish in these final two months of your senior season?
TG: Make it further in the NCAA tournament than any Carolina team ever has before.
GH: Looking back on your career as a Tar Heel, what advice do you have for your younger teammates?
TG: You will never regret working hard, giving it all you have and treating people well. This goes for every facet of your life. These four years will fly by so make them something that you are proud of. Give it your all and become the best person you can.
GH: Where do you see yourself next year, and how has UNC prepared you for that?
TG: I would love to have a job in San Francisco. UNC is one of the best schools in the nation so it goes without saying that graduating from here sets you up for success in every facet of your life.
GH: Name three things left on your "bucket list" of things to do before you graduate.
TG: Make it further than any volleyball team in Carolina history, go in the bell tower and rush Franklin Street after a UNC basketball win against Duke
GH: In one word, describe your four seasons at North Carolina.