Going the extra mile: Serbian recruit Nina Čajić shines during outstanding season for TU Volleyball
By: Cory Kefauver, Associate Editor
Photo Courtesy of Nina Čajić
Towson University (TU) Volleyball sophomore Nina Čajić, an international player, has impressed her team with impressive growth personally and as a player. Her growing edge comes amidst an outstanding season for the Tigers, who stand at 17-3 with only four regular season games to go.
Čajić hails from Subotica, Serbia, where she began her volleyball career at the age of seven. Her volleyball career has been heavily influenced by her family – her brother in particular.
“The first time I realized that I wanted to play volleyball beyond high school was in 2016 when my brother went to America to play college volleyball,” Čajić said. “Coming from a family of volleyball players, I started to love volleyball from a really young age and I always knew I was going to be a volleyball player.”
Čajić decided on TU after meeting Assistant Coach Terry Hutchinson. She said that meeting Hutchinson so early in the recruitment process made a good impression on her and her family. The feeling was mutual with Hutchinson, who knew Čajić would be a good fit at TU after the first time he saw her on the volleyball court.
“It was at an elementary school gym, [it] was barely big enough to hold the court,” Hutchinson said. “She jumped up and took one swing and I had to check to see if the net was the right height. She just got so high, and I kept checking the net saying ‘is this right?’”
Čajić said that when Hutchinson first came to watch her play, he actually asked her to touch the rim of the basketball hoop in the gym.
“He asked if I could do it and I said I never tried it, so I don’t know,” Čajić said. “When I touched it he said ‘do that again I want to send it to the coach.’ He recorded me and he just said ‘go get her,’ so they got me.”
Čajić was named to the first team All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) last year in 2020, and recorded 79 kills and started all seven games during the spring season of 2021. She registered a season-high 15 kills against Loyola earlier this season.
Čajić had a season-high 15 kills against Loyola earlier this season. She also racked up 19.5 points and two assists in the same game.
Sophomore middle blocker Aayinde Smith believes that Čajić’s physical skills and mental toughness are impressive.
“You never know what to expect from her honestly, from her crafty roll shots to her massive swing, she’s awesome,” Smith said. “I think she is very mentally strong and has a positive attitude.”
According to Hutchinson, Čajić has a lot of confidence in the way she plays. He added that she is not arrogant, but is confident in what she can do on the court.
“She keeps that level of ‘we’re going to be ok’ the entire time she’s on the court,” Hutchinson said.
TU Volleyball took a hard loss at Hofstra on Sept 8, losing the game 3-2. They came back the next day and beat Hofstra 3-1 at Hofstra.
Both Smith and Hutchinson agree that one of her most outstanding traits is her sense of humor.
“You can bust chops with her and she’ll give it right back,” Hutchinson said. “She’s just a lot of fun, she’s always willing to give you a little look and bust your chops.”
According to Smith, Čajić and her clicked even before coming to TU.
“All we do is laugh together, we make any small thing a big thing,” Smith said. “Honestly just laughing with her that’s my favorite thing to do.”
TU Volleyball is currently 5-3 in Colonial Athletic Association play and are fourth in the standings.
TU Volleyball will play their next match on Oct. 22 against The College of William and Mary.
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