Aug. 26, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -
Experience will benefit the 2002 Florida State volleyball team. The Seminoles return five starters from the 2001 squad, which advanced to the championship game of the ACC Tournament. Despite the loss of All-ACC middle hitter Norisha Campbell to graduation, Florida State expects to contend for the ACC Championship once again this year.
Every successful team has a leader. The Seminoles have four. With starting seniors Erica Bunch, Kristin Frye, Dawn Hough and Alex Sevillano returning for the 2002 season, Florida State has the experience and leadership most teams can only hope for. Eight letterwinners return in all, while six newcomers will join the Florida State squad.
With the retirement of 26-year head coach Dr. Cecile Reynaud, Florida State volleyball will experience many changes in 2002. The first change came in February, when Athletic Director Dave Hart, Jr. hired Todd Kress from Northern Illinois University. Kress, one of the most exciting young coaches in the country, brings a new look to Florida State volleyball.
Kress completed his coaching staff with the hiring of Jenny Fette and Kirstine Jensen. The young, energetic staff will set the tone for the 2002 Florida State volleyball season. Seminole volleyball will have a new look as Kress implements a new faster-paced offense, which centers around the middle hitter position.
Fette will primarily work with the setters, while Jensen will work with the middles and blocking units.
The outside hitter position looks to be where Florida State will have the most depth entering the 2002 season. Three starters, one returning letterwinner and three newcomers will play outside for the Seminoles.
Seniors Erica Bunch, Kristin Frye and Alex Sevillano will provide experience and leadership at the outside position. Florida State will look to Bunch to provide much needed power to the lineup. In 2001, Bunch recorded 302 kills on 798 total attacks. After seeing playing time in every match during the 2001 season and leading the team with 986 total attacks and 332 digs, Sevillano hopes to repeat her 2001 performance. Frye will receive playing time at both the outside and opposite positions. She led the team in 2001 with 49 service aces.
"Erica and Alex will provide a lot of experience, stability and offensive firepower at the outside position," said Kress. "We will count on them to lead the pack."
Sophomore Aisha Carr and newcomers Kristen Rust, Ashley Denbow and Jennifer Orlowski are also expected to make an impact at the outside position. In 2001, Carr saw playing time in just seven matches, but recorded 61 total attacks. The newcomers are expected to add versatility to this position.
With the departure of Norisha Campbell, the Seminoles will lack depth at the middle hitter position. Senior Dawn Hough is the only player returning at the middle position. Due to injury, Hough only saw action in 19 matches last season, but still recorded 63 block assists and 16 solo blocks. The Seminoles will look to her to pick up her game and become a bigger part of the offense in 2002.
"Dawn is a senior and looks to be one of the top blockers in the conference," said Kress. "We definitely want to make her a bigger part of the offense, so that we can showcase her talent."
Two newcomers will be expected to contribute at the middle hitter position during the 2002 campaign. Trenesha Biggers will make an immediate impact for the Seminoles after spending two years playing at the junior college level. Rust will see playing time at the middle position as well as the outside position in 2002.
Outside hitters Frye and Carr will also compete at the opposite position in 2002. Frye's ball-handling ability makes her a versatile athlete and ideal to play either outside or opposite. A big blocker, Frye, who recorded 72 total blocks and 252 kills in 2001, brings offensive firepower to the squad.
Carr has great attacking ability and brings a different dimension to the squad.
"If you look at teams around the conference, each has their big left side and is stacked at the middle position, but the teams that will really challenge are those that can fire from all parts of the net," said Kress. "I think we will do that and challenge for the championship."
Jennifer Anderson looks to make her mark on the Florida State record book in 2002 as she returns for her second straight year as the starting setter. Anderson had an impressive sophomore campaign ranking in second place in the ACC after recording 1,401 assists. She ranks sixth all-time at FSU in assists with 2,281 and her 1,401 assists last year was good for fourth on FSU's single-season charts. High expectations have been placed on Anderson under the new system as Kress has implemented a faster-paced and more complex offense.
"Jen provides leadership and stability at the setter position," said Kress. "She is an extension of the coach on the court."
Newcomer Carly Adams looks to challenge Anderson at the setter position. Adams will bring enthusiasm to the court after training with Anderson during the off-season.
Kress will look to the 2002 recruiting class to make an immediate impact for the Seminoles. Florida State brings in six newcomers for the season, including junior college transfers Trenesha Biggers and Cathy Cline and freshmen Carly Adams, Ashley Denbow, Jennifer Orlowski and Kristen Rust. The newcomers look to bring energy and excitement to a veteran squad. Kress believes that this class will set the standard for many years to come within his program.
"I couldn't be more excited about this class," said Kress. "They have a lot of heart, are committed and have a work ethic second to none."
Biggers and Cline are both junior college transfers with two years of experience under their belts. Biggers joined the Seminole squad from the College of Southern Idaho, while Cline transferred from Pasco-Hernado College. Both players will look to make immediate contributions.
Denbow and Rust will challenge for action at the outside position. Denbow was named to the all-state and all-CenTex team after leading her team to the state semifinals during her senior season. Rust, a powerful outside, earned Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year and first-team all-state honors following her senior season.
Adams provides depth at the setter position and Orlowski will work primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Adams comes to Florida State with size and intensity, which could add a lot of versatility to the setter position. Adams was named most valuable player and to the all-state team following her junior and senior seasons. With her ball-handling ability and experience on defense, Orlowski will make an immediate contribution.
Florida State will face stiff competition during the 2002 regular season as the Seminoles take on six teams that participated in the postseason last year as well as a number of tough non-conference opponents. Three of the six teams that appeared in the postseason last year are ACC opponents, Duke, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. The Seminoles will compete against those teams in home-and-away matches during the season. The other three opponents that appeared in post-season action last year are in-state rivals Florida, Florida A&M and Florida International.
"We have a lot of in-state flavor on the schedule in 2002 with Florida, Florida A&M, Florida International, South Florida, Miami and Jacksonville," said Kress. "The players are always excited about facing in-state schools."
Three regular-season tournaments highlight this year's schedule. To kick off the season, Florida State will travel to Normal, Ill., for the Illinois State Tournament. Host-team Illinois State, Alabama and Marshall will join Florida State at the tournament. After a two-game home stint, Florida State will compete in the Florida International Tournament in Miami. Joining the Seminoles will be Miami, Florida International and IUPUI. Before traveling to Gainesville to take on Florida. Florida State will play host to Louisiana-Lafayette, Brown and LSU in the FSU Invitational.
"We will be challenged right off the bat as we open the season against stiff competition in three tournaments," said Kress. "I believe our pre-season schedule will benefit our team as we prepare for the rigorous ACC schedule."
The Seminoles will open ACC play at home when they host Wake Forest and Duke. ACC Tournament action will take the Seminoles to Atlanta, Ga. as Georgia Tech will play host to this year's ACC Championship, November 21-24. Although picked to finish fifth in the ACC preseason poll, the Seminoles and new head coach Todd Kress have high expectations for an exciting season.