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The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

Nathalie Tsai, From Bulldog to Future Quaker

Nathalie Tsai
Nathalie Tsai repping UPenn. Photo courtesy of Nathalie Tsai

At the young age of nine, junior Nathalie Tsai began playing club volleyball, marking the beginning of a long dedicated journey that took her to a verbal commitment at the University of Pennsylvania this year.

“I started playing actual club volleyball at the age of nine,” said Nathalie Tsai (‘25).

Tsai shared that her parents’ influence played a significant role in how she started playing.

“I tried out volleyball because I knew both my parents played. I was really picky with sports when I first started—they would list off a whole list of sports and I would say no until it got to volleyball and then I was like okay, so I tried it out,” said Tsai.

Now a junior in high school, she has many accolades thanks to her hard work and dedication as a player. These include a 2023 GVCA All-State Honorable Mention, 2022 5A Region 4 Player of the Year, 2022 MaxPreps High School Volleyball Record Mention (#1 Stat Leader in Aces), and many more.

Nathalie’s passion for volleyball grew alongside her competitive nature. Driven by her dissatisfaction with losing, she constantly pushes herself to improve.

“I think I’m naturally a competitive person. Especially when it comes to sports, I hate losing. So it just made me want to keep getting better,” said Tsai.

Her progress was also fueled by the players around her, who provided competition and encouragement which pushed her to become better.

“I pushed myself to the point where I could play with the top players in my class,” said Tsai.

Nathalie’s proudest moment in her volleyball career so far is her recent commitment to play at the University of Pennsylvania. Her commitment reflects her determination through countless hours of practice and hard work.

“I would probably say committing is my most memorable moment in my career so far,” said Tsai.

Deciding to commit to UPenn wasn’t hard for Tsai, as UPenn’s academic and athletic opportunities align well with her aspirations, making it the perfect fit for her commitment. Also, the beauty of the campus and her love for the school played a role in her choice.

“I love the school, it’s so pretty. I also just wanted to go to a really good academic school, so I knew through volleyball I could get into school a bit easier,” said Tsai.

She believes that her experience playing volleyball will greatly benefit her college career. Through the years Nathalie has learned valuable lessons that will help towards injury prevention, allowing her to continue playing at a high level.

“I’ve learned a lot of lessons through volleyball, obviously physically and mentally. I’d say that’s what’s keeping me from either burning out or actually getting physically injured, which will help me continue playing better in college,” said Tsai.

Although staying in one place has social benefits, Tsai recognizes that branching out can lead to many great experiences and friendships, so she’s looking forward to meeting new people as she starts her career after high school.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people. I’ve been in the same bubble since I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life,” said Tsai.

Nathalie hopes to set many records and is aiming to make an impact during her freshman year.

“I want to set some type of record for them [UPenn]. Also, I really want to play in my freshman year. I just want to try to get as much play time as I can,” said Tsai.

Nathalie believes Penn’s athletic program will help her prepare for the difference in playing level from high school to college.

“To prepare, I’d definitely go through Penn’s athletic training program. I know they do a lot of conditioning and strength training and that will help me ease into the [playing] level and how fast the pace is,” said Tsai.

As Nathalie reflects on her long journey to get where she is today, she believes she has her dad to thank for her achievements.

“My dad certainly helped me get to this moment. He’s the one who’s always pushing me, and even though at times it does get a little bit much, he’s the one who’s always getting me out of my head and making me focus to do the best I can,” said Tsai.

Nathalie’s journey in volleyball showcases her dedication, hard work, and competitive spirit. From her early beginnings to committing to UPenn, her passion for volleyball continues to grow. As she makes her way to college and begins her career in the next couple of years, we can only anticipate all the remarkable achievements she will accomplish.

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Nadia Norman
Nadia Norman, Staff Writer
Nadia Norman (‘26) is a sophomore and staff writer at the Blue and Gold. In five years she hopes to be at her dream college studying to get her bachelors degree. Her three favorite things are Target, listening to music, and binging suits (the show).
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    VivianNov 15, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    Congratulations Natalie!