UT Dallas Volleyball Player Has Her Designs on Championship
A winning combination: Fayna Zeng holds the American Southwest Conference championship T-shirt she designed and earned when the volleyball team won the title last weekend.
When UT Dallas freshman Fayna Zeng slipped on her championship T-shirt after the women’s volleyball team clinched the American Southwest Conference title last weekend, it represented two victories.
The arts and technology major helped her team triumph on the court, and she also won a contest for designing the shirt that all of the conference’s championship athletes will wear in 2015-16.
Zeng and the UT Dallas volleyball team head into the NCAA Division III National Tournament today in California. The men’s soccer team, which also won an ASC title, will begin NCAA tournament play this weekend in San Antonio.
“It’s pretty cool to wear my own shirt,” Zeng said. “And when I saw the men’s soccer team wearing it, I shouted, ‘Hey, I designed that. It’s my shirt!’”
Zeng is the second UT Dallas student in a row to win the ASC T-shirt design contest. Last year, senior golfer Dylan Carroll, an emerging media and communications major, provided the winning design.
She learned about the design contest when she saw an ASC tweet during a long bus trip with the team from Nashville to Dallas. Using a design program on her laptop, Zeng decided to play around with red, blue and white graphic elements until she came up with a font and a design that pleased her.
She sent in her design, and a few weeks later received an email telling her that she’d won.
It was no fluke that Zeng was able to come up with a winning design. At UT Dallas, she likes the combination of art and technology in her major because she finds using computer programs to design graphic art is very “efficient.”
Follow the Comets
Watch NCAA Division III National Tournaments:
On Friday evening, follow the live results of the women's volleyball team here.
On Saturday morning, follow the live results of the men's soccer team here.
“I’m a pretty messy person, so using technology keeps everything intact,” Zeng said.
She always liked art classes, but a high school advanced placement course in 2-D design really sparked her passion for graphic design.
“It challenged me to go above and beyond. We got to do CD covers and billboard ads,” she said. Zeng hopes to get a job one day designing company logos.
What brought her to UT Dallas, however, was her other passion —volleyball. Though she tried just about every sport as a child, volleyball stuck with her.
“I never get tired of it. There’s passing, setting, hitting — every play is different. You never know what’s going to happen. It never gets old,” she said.
Zeng played on the Plano West Senior High varsity team and with a USA Volleyball local club that won nationals last summer in New Orleans.
She said she was drawn to the quality of the UT Dallas volleyball program, citing the “encouragement and constructive criticism” that UT Dallas head coach Marci Sanders and assistant coach Zach Villarreal give their team.
“The coaches here just feel like family. It’s a really good feeling. They don’t make you ever regret playing for them. They never break me down; they build me up. They make me better every day, not just as a player but as a person, too,” Zeng said.
She also credits assistant athletic trainer Kerri Kalina for keeping her in the game.
“I’m a really clumsy person,” Zeng said. “Often she’ll just look at me and say, ‘What do you have today, Fayna?’”
Because the team spends so much time in practice, more than two hours a day, and traveling to games on weekends, Zeng shares a close bond with her teammates.
And now they share at least one item in their wardrobe – that championship T-shirt.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].