Women's Volleyball 2001 Season Outlook
Aug. 28, 2001
With a solid nucleus of talent returning, the 2001 season should be a strong one for the Lady Seminoles. After losing only one senior, Jennifer Werrick, Florida State is returning one of the most experienced squads in recent years.
Every successful team has a leader, the one athlete who stands above them all. This year's leader is senior Norisha Campbell. Campbell has proved to be the backbone of this team for the past two years. She enters the 2001 season with a desire to once again win an ACC Title. Campbell spent the summer in Colorado Springs training with an A2 National Team. She received the chance to travel to the Dominican Republic in late July for international competition. The Universal City, Texas native and the rest of the Lady Seminoles look forward to an exciting 2001 season. Florida State returns with nine letterwinners, including five starters and welcomes five newcomers to the program.
Outsides With the loss of Werrick to graduation, the outside hitters will be counted on to step it up a notch. Despite only playing in 21 matches last season, junior Erica Bunch is ready for the season opener. Bunch finished the season with 178 kills and 479 total attacks. Much will be expected of her and she's ready and willing to deliver. Kristin Frye stepped in and went to work collecting 280 kills, which was the fourth best mark for last year's squad, as well as finishing the year with 36 service aces. Frye will be looked to once again for yet another outstanding year.
Also battling for a starting position at the outside hitter position is junior Alex Sevillano. Sevillano had a breakout season in 2000. She notched eight double-digit kills in her first nine matches of the 2000 season and is hungry for more.
"Every year we start out in August and we put players in competitive drills where they have to work their way into starting positions," said head coach Cecile Reynaud. "We will make it competitive. When we have outside hitting drills we match them up against each other day after day to see who, over time, is really the strongest player. We will put our freshman Aisha Carr into the mix and see how well she performs. Aisha is going to challenge for a starting position on this year's roster."
Middles Campbell will once again lead the way for the Lady Seminoles following a fantastic 2000 campaign. Campbell was the only player to see action in every match last year and led the team in blocks (119) and kills (447). Following a season filled with broken records and a summer filled with valuable experience while playing for the A2 team, she should be a huge factor for the Lady `Noles in 2001.
"Norisha spent the summer with the A2 team giving her invaluable experience," Reynaud said. "She's playing with the top players in the country her age and we will really look to her this season. We are going to use her extensively in our offense. I think her drive and her competitiveness will carry over to the rest of the team. She will be a big key to our success for the upcoming year, which is exactly what a senior should be."
Senior Elizabeth Pound along with juniors Dawn Hough and Kristin Frye will join Campbell at the net this season. Hough was a solid player at the net for the Lady `Noles, coming through with 76 block assists and 21 solo blocks. Hough has accumulated 260 career kills and 107 block assists. Frye had an outstanding 2000 start while she and Campbell both took aim at rewriting the record books. Pound was a solid performer in the 2000 season and she provided great depth for the team as well as some important help at the net.
Setters Sophomore Jennifer Anderson proved she has what it takes to start at setter for FSU volleyball, making an immediate impact in 2000. She will open the 2001 season as the starting setter looking to capitalize on a solid rookie year. Anderson collected 880 assists last season even though she was forced to sit out part of the year due to an injury. She is currently on pace to be in the top-10 for career set assists, and could see a career-high in single-season assists in the 2001 season. Anderson garnered ACC Rookie of the Week honors as well as being named to the ACC All-Freshman team. With her leadership at the position she should be a tremendous key to the success of this years team.
Senior Luana Ruiz Azevedo will spend time training as a setter as well as a right side hitter.
Newcomers... Reynaud will be looking to this year's dynamic group of newcomers to add a new dimension of talent and athleticism, as they will be called upon to make immediate contributions. Florida State brings in five newcomers for the 2001 season in Aisha Carr, Ashley Meyer, Kameelah Omar, Crissy Bloomgren and Mary Beth Patrick. Carr, who hails from Dallas, Texas, was named offensive MVP her junior year and then named the Most Valuable Player in the district her senior year at Dallas Skyline High School.
"Aisha was very highly recruited," said Reynaud. "She will come in and compete for a starting spot as an outside hitter. She is an outstanding player." Joining Carr are freshmen Meyer and Omar. Meyer, a six-foot middle hitter was named all-district her sophomore, junior and senior years as well as her team's top offensive player in her senior year.
"Ashley was an all-state player from Louisiana, but she hasn't really had much time to compete with a club team," said Reynaud. "I think she will develop into an outstanding player. She is an excellent athlete and a great student."
Omar, who garnered MVP honors in her conference her senior year as well as her team's most valuable player in both her junior and senior seasons, is one of this year's freshman walk-ons.
"Kameelah could really step in and contribute as a defensive specialist with her passing and digging," Reynaud said.
Schedule FSU played one of the toughest schedules in the ACC last season, which included nationally ranked teams Notre Dame and Florida, as well as SEC powerhouse Alabama, the Lady Seminoles will bump their level of competition up another notch this season.
After a competitive spring season, which included matches against Big 12 schools Texas and Texas A&M, the Lady Seminoles will open the 2001 season on the road as they head to Malibu, Calif., for the Pepperdine Tournament. Following its opening tournament the squad will then find themselves heading to College Station, Texas for the Texas A&M Tourney.
The final tournament of the season will be held at Tully Gymnasium, home of the Lady Seminoles, where Louisiana-Lafayette, Massachusetts, Bethune-Cookman and Manhattan College will visit the Lucy McDaniel Arena at Tully Gym for the Lady Seminole Classic.
Heading into the season, the Tribe could possibly face several nationally-ranked teams in their opening six matches. FSU will start the ACC season on the road at Clemson and conclude at home as the Lady Noles play host to the ACC Tournament. The tournament will begin on Thursday, November 15th and play will continue through Sunday, November 18th. ACC action looks to be tough once again as Florida State is ranked No.4 in the preseason polls, with Duke only three votes ahead in the No. 3 spot and Georgia Tech picked as the favorite of the season.
"If you look at the conference this year, Duke, FSU, and UNC all return with five starters," said Reynaud. "It's going to be whoever put in the most work this summer and the team that can avoid injuries. When looking at Georgia Tech, we were very fortunate to beat them in Atlanta late in the season. To beat a strong team like that at their home shows what our team is truly capable of doing. Duke is going to be very strong this year and we need to stay healthy and maintain the mental toughness it's going to take to beat a team of their caliber."
"When you look at the pre-season polls our ranking of No. 4 was only three votes behind," said Reynaud. "The championship again could be wide open. Hosting the ACC Tourney is definitely going to be exciting. Nothing was more exciting to me during my coaching career than to win a Metro Conference Championship here in Tully Gym. It is something I have been able to experience and I think it would be wonderful for our team to do that as well."
Rally Rules... New rules have entered the world of NCAA volleyball. "Rally Scoring," which has currently been used in international and junior club play, will now allow for a point to be scored by either team on every serve. The matches will consist of three out of the five games to be played to 30 points until the deciding game, which will be played to 15 points. Another new rule will allow a served ball to contact the net and stay in play as long as it goes over the net. With the new rules of the game, many schools may be trying to develop a new game plan for the upcoming season.
"The new system will make for an interesting year for everyone," said Reynaud. "Mistakes and unforced errors may allow for a weaker opponent to stay in the match longer, and aggressive teams may back off more than they might have. It should be a good way to shorten match times and keeping that under control should keep fans happy. I think it will take a while for the top college players to adjust, but freshmen have been playing with these rules in club volleyball so it shouldn't be as big of an adjustment for them."