OFF TOPIC with Minnesota Volleyball’s Ashley Suapaia

by Mark Heise

Ashley Suapaia is healthy and back to practice, and we’ve got her Off Topic for you today. Ashley is one of the four freshmen on the Minnesota volleyball team, and was one of two players I had yet to meet. But she has some interesting answers in here, and I think you should enjoy it. First, the bio:


Name: Ashley Suapaia
Year: Freshman
Number: 14
Position: Defensive Specialist
Full Bio: Gophersports bio


Mark Heise: Ashley, just to start things off, could you give us your FULL name?

Ashley Suapaia: It’s Ashley Nicole Fetuaw Fuatino Auhea Suapaia Tuapalehake

MH: And how did you get so many names?

AS: I was in a hula group so my group gave me Auhea because it was a title of a song that we danced, and I just put so much emotion into it that it was my Hawiian nickname. Ashley Nicole Suapaia is the name my family gave me after I was born, Fetuaw Fuatino are names that my grandma gave me, and I’m actually going to be changing my first name once my grandma passes away to Paolo because that’s her name. So it just kind of embraces names from the family. And Tuapalehake is our war last name.

MH: So it’s all part of the familyok. I’ve been told you can hula dance, is that another family thing?

AS: It’s part of the Hawiian tradition, I’m Samoain but it’s the closest we can find here. I was in a hula group since I was five, but then I had to quit because of volleyball. My dad was a traveling musician, so it’s kind of in the blood.

MH: I don’t know if Kelly Schmidt warned you about this, but when she nominated you, she also gave a question to ask, so here it is. Why do you have so many embarrassing moments?

AS: Yeah, um… that’s a good question. I’m not sure why I have so many, it just happens to me, I’m just awkward. We had to think of an embarrassing moment, and out of everyone I had the most. Some girls could barely think of one, and I had like seven. It’s just kind of my wife.

MH: I hear you live at University Village, I lived there last year.

AS: Really?

MH: Yeah, I know all about that place. Just first off, it’s a ways away from everything… but have you gotten used to that, and are there any plusses to living there?

AS: Well I have a scooter so I don’t have to walk, which is a plus. But some of the good things include getting to room with my teammates, and it’s kind of cool compared to dorms, because I’m able to have a kitchen, a washer/dryer, and my own room. I can get away and have my privacy, but then I can always come out and be with my roommates as well.

MH: UV isn’t exactly the best place, however…

AS: No, it’s not the best, but it’s better than a dorm. The negative is you don’t get to meet many people. In the dorms you get to meet a lot of friends, but there everyone kind of stays in their rooms.

MH: Have they fixed the elevators yet, or are they kind of scary still?

AS: They’re REALLY slow. But I’m on the first floor so I just take the stairs.

MH: I’m going to name off a few reality shows, your job is to tell me which of your teammates would belong on each.

AS: Ok

MH: Survivor

AS: Survivor would probably have to be Kyla (Roehrig). You ask her a question about something and she knows everything about it, so I think she could cope better and figure out strategies to try and win.

MH: American Idol

AS: American Idol… (laughs)… would definitely have to be Brook (Dieter). Brook has the best voice, we got to listen to it the other night when she was trying to perfect the Star Spangled Banner.

MH: Really?

AS: (laughs) Yes

MH: Brook has said a few other things about her musical abilities.

AS: Well I don’t know if she’d win it, but she’d definitely be one of the clips in the beginning.

MH: Oh wow… last one of these… "So you think you can dance…"

AS: That’d be Ari (Ariana Filho) she breaks out the best moves when we do our pregame dance in the locker room, she’s very creative and very fun to dance with. So it’d be Ari.

MH: Sounds good. Earlier this year, you had a cheer with you in the middle pretending to be a Gopher. Where did that idea come from?

AS: We were at Kyla’s in Nebraska at a tournament, and Schmidty (Kelly Schmidt) said we should do that cheer-part of the rouser, and then Scott (Swanson) said we should have someone be in the middle and be the Gopher, and I’m really outgoing so I did it. So we practiced, and we did it, and I was ok with doing it. It was fun while it lasted.

MH: Can you ice skate?

AS: I can, but I’m not really fast. I like to act like a professional figure skater, but I’m not really that good at it. My best friend took lessons for figure skating and she’s helped me. She’s pretty good.

MH: If you were giving a tour of campus, what parts of campus would you highlight and what parts would you skip?

AS: I’d highlight all the food areas, that’s where I spend most of my time… Also I think I’d have to do the classrooms, the University offers great programs so you have to show that… And now the sports area, especially with the football stadium, looks pretty cool. I think I’d stay away from the University Village area, the plasma center is weird so I wouldn’t show them that. But I’d definitely show Dinkytown.

MH: First thing you mentioned was food, do you have a favorite place to eat on campus?

AS: My favorite place to eat would be Chipotle, even though it’s not limited to being on this campus. Potbelly’s I go there a lot, just kind of simple fast food places And Qdoba.

MH: Question of the year: Men’s basketball player Travis Busch and Gophersports writer Zach Eisendrath have an online blog TV show called The What Else? Show, where they sit on air and discuss random topics that they feel like talking about each day. The question is, if you had an online TV blog, what would you call it and what would it be about?

AS: Probably about food. I love cooking so I think I’d have something about cooking, it could be like "What not to wear", except "What not to eat." We could talk about healthy alternatives. Or we could talk about college cooking.

MH: First guest you’d have on the show?

AS: Probably my mom. She’s a great cook, she actually made me and my roommates enchiladas the other night.

MH: Completely different direction. We all know that with lightning and thunder, the closer the lightning is to you, the sooner you will hear the thunder. So, if you were to get struck by lightning, would you hear the thunder at the same time, or no?

AS: Yes. You’re going to get struck by lightning so you’ll probably hear something, whether it’s thunder or not. That’s my guess.

MH: Ok. I want to play a game with you. We’re going to see how well you know your teammates. So I’m going to tell you something about one of them, and you’ll tell me who it is.

AS: I’m ready

MH: If you’ve read my stories, you’d know all these already… but the first one: her brother plays Division I hockey.

AS: (pause) Brook Dieter.

MH: Correct. Her favorite pop is Barq’s Root Beer.

AS: Rachel (Hartmann)? or Brook? one of those two.

MH: Rachel is right. This question has two answers. You have one teammate that "can’t sleep" due to millipedes, and the other "has nightmares" about them.

AS: Schmidty has nightmares about them, and… is it Rachel that can’t sleep?

MH: Wow, you know your team pretty well. Who doesn’t like rollercoasters?

AS: …That’s… is it (Christine) Tan?

MH: Yup

AS: Really, I didn’t know that.

MH: Who interned with Nao Ikeda over the summer?

AS: Kyla.

MH: Who hasn’t met me? Now that you have, there’s only one.

AS: It has to be a freshman… I’m guessing, Alex Blatt

MH: Nope

AS: Jessica (Granquist)?

MH: No, that would be Ariana Filho.

AS: Oh shoot!

MH: You were doing well up to that point. Who considers herself a political analyst of sorts?

AS: Schmidty.

MH: Last one, who are the best cooks on the team?

AS: Tanner (Tan) and Katie Vatterrodt are Betty Crockers so it would be them.

MH: Do you add yourself in that category?

AS: And me of course.

MH: Couple more questions. If you could be on any game show, which would it be?

AS: Well first, Wheel of Fortune, but the other one is really old, but Supermarket Sweep?

MH: That used to be on PAX or something, right?

AS: Yep. So they put a little circle on a product, and you have to go around the store and find it. I think I’d like that.

MH: Ok. Well you get to pick your next teammate to sit down and talk with me, who would you like it to be, and what question would you like them to answer?

AS: Interview Alex Blatt, and ask her why she’s so unlucky. I have embarrassing moments, she’s really unlucky.

Ashley, thanks for your time. Stay tuned this week everyone, we have Kay Sylva from the Women’s basketball team and a third person who is yet to be determined. Three Off Topics this week, so if you want to hear more from the Gopher athletes, keep checking back!