Last fall, Zoe Nightingale was knocking down spikes and blocking shots in earning The Bee Girls Volleyball Player of the Year honors for St. Francis.
This season, as a true freshman, Nightingale has helped UCLA reach the NCAA Division I Final Four at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Nightingale, a Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention selection, will play for the ninth-seeded Bruins (28-6) 4 p.m. Thursday against 12th-seeded Flordia State (28-6). Third-seeded Illinois (31-4) plays seventh-seeded USC (29-4) in the 6 p.m. semifinal, with the winners to meet on Saturday for the national title.
The 6-foot-3 Nightingale, a middle blocker, has 116 kills, 59 blocks and is averaging 1.81 points per set for the Bruins.
In the regional semifinals in Lexington, Ky., Dec. 9, UCLA ended Penn State's bid for a fifth consecutive NCAA title with a 3-0 win. Nightingale had three blocks in that match.