Bojana Todorovic’s body went still, her arms dropping to her side. Within moments her teammates mobbed her and she found herself in the
middle of a dogpile – UCLA women’s volleyball’s national championship
clinched. That was December 2011.
She stood with her feet buried in the sand, breaking ground as a part of the UCLA sand volleyball program’s first-ever match. That was March 2013.
For four years, Todorovic donned the Bruin blue and gold, playing four seasons as an indoor volleyball player and one season as a sand volleyball player.
She came to be one of the faces of the UCLA volleyball program. Around campus, Todorovic’s face would be “blown-up” and printed on volleyball game advertisements. At games, she was a fan favorite.
Tuesday, the Bruins will have to shed that image against the Long Beach State 49ers, playing former team member Todorovic in the No. 1 doubles matchup.
“I think it will be interesting,” said junior Karsta Lowe, Todorovic’s former doubles partner, with a light laugh.
“She was my partner and now she’s playing the No. 1 spot and I heard she’s killing it. It’s weird cause I know she’s a Bruin at heart.”
It was Todorovic’s relentless passion for the game that defined her play at UCLA, coaches and players alike agreed. So fittingly, when she graduated last year, she found her way back into the game. She enrolled in Long Beach State’s graduate sports management program and used her final year of eligibility for one last go-around in collegiate sand volleyball.
“She loves volleyball. Nobody loves volleyball as much as Bo,” said coach Stein Metzger. “It’s just a part of her life, she’s so passionate about it. And she’s always the first one in the gym, last one to leave.”
The Bruins have seen so much of Todorovic, the scouting report should be overflowing past the brim. Metzger believes his team will be able to pick apart her game, and doing so will be critical – No. 6 UCLA will need every point in a crucial game against No. 5 Long Beach State.
The Bruins are currently on a two-game skid. Another consecutive loss and the wheels of a season that began with so much promise would be rolling off. And with the season coming to a close, the opportunities to turn it around are dwindling.
“Since it’s the last week, (we’re) just going all out cause it’s over,” said junior Zoë Nightingale. “(We’re going to) leave everything out there.”