Aug. 12, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Preseason camp for the Florida State indoor volleyball team has begun at Tully Gym with the team searching for its third consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference title in the 2013 season.
The Seminoles return nine total letterwinners from a 2012 team that finished 28-4 overall and won the conference with an 18-2 ACC record. Florida State has gone 18-2 in conference play in each of the last two seasons, equaling an outstanding 36-4 record that is the fourth-best two-year mark of any team in ACC history.
"We are very excited to get back in practice and start working with the players," head coach Chris Poole said. "The summer is a long time for athletes to be away from any skill training, so it takes a couple of weeks to get them back into a competition level. There are players that made big improvements over the spring and summer in their fitness level and many improved their vertical jumps. If we can keep this group healthy, they have a lot of potential this year. We are taking it one day at a time right now."
While Florida State loses a talented senior class that combined to win 109 matches, much talent returns for what is expected to be another stellar campaign. Anchoring the Seminoles in front of the net is senior All-American middle blocker Ashley Neff. The Kennesaw, Ga. native earned third-team AVCA honors last season and shows 438 career blocks which rank eighth in school history.
Adding to Florida State's experience is redshirt junior libero Katie Mosher. The Fort Myers, Fla. native joined Neff as the only members of the team's freshman class in 2010, and together they have led the Seminoles to an NCAA National Semifinal in 2011 and two NCAA second-round appearances. Mosher begins the 2013 season with 1,099 career digs, putting her on pace to shatter the school record of 1,859 digs with two years of eligibility remaining.
Highlighting the outside hitters is senior Olivera Medic. The Subotica, Serbia native is the lone international student-athlete on this year's team. As a junior she finished second on the team with 3.06 digs per set and 2.42 kills per set. Her versatile game which includes superb passing and attacking was shown by leading Florida State with seven double-doubles a year ago.
Poised to take over the starting setter duties is junior Sarah Wickstrom, a Stuart, Fla. native who earned All-ACC Freshman honors in 2011. Wickstrom helped former Seminole middle blocker Sareea Freeman to a career year last season with the execution of the team's "quick attack" offense, and now will adjust to working with another proven offensive force in Neff.
A stronger balance toward the youthful side means that the Seminoles will be relying more on their 2012 recruiting class that was ranked third by Prepvolleyball.com. Included in the class are redshirt freshmen Sarah Burrington (MB, Ruskin, Fla.) and Leah Mikesky (OH, Schulenburg, Texas). Both players gained valuable experience last year competing in practice and have the chance to enjoy breakthrough years in their first season of court time.
Sophomores Nicole Walch (OH, Stuart, Fla.) and Mara Green (RS, McDonough, Ga.) participated regularly a season ago and contributed to several of Florida State's victories. Another season of experience is expected to boost the level of play from each student-athlete as they begin their second years in college.
One of Florida State's three seniors is right-side hitter Elise Walch. The Stuart, Fla. native has made a noticeable improvement in all facets of her game in the offseason and looks to continue her hard-hitting ways in her final year as a Seminole.
Twin sisters Laura and Caroline Dadowski begin their sophomore years as members of the Garnet and Gold. Both players earned time in key situations last season, especially as serving specialists. The Pittsburgh natives continue to bring added depth at the libero spots and will be two more key pieces to the 2013 team.
Florida State's freshmen class includes right-side hitter Izzy Carmona (Titusville, Fla.) and setter Hailey Luke (Altamonte Springs, Fla.), both from the Orlando area. Carmona and Luke have strong skill sets that could allow them to see a fair amount of action on the court this season.
Fans can get a first glimpse of the 2013 Seminoles with the annual Garnet & Gold scrimmage held at Tully Gym on Saturday, Aug. 24 beginning at 1 p.m. Admission to all FSU volleyball events is free.
Included in Florida State's challenging schedule this season is a 13-match home slate at Tully Gym. The home opener is Friday, Sept. 6 against Ohio State at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. The match is part of the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational.
Nearly half of Florida State's home schedule will air on television or be streamed on the internet. The Seminoles' annual rivalry with Miami will be shown on ESPNU on Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. at Tully Gym. Florida State hosts Pitt in a regionally televised matchup on Oct. 13 at 2 p.m.
Four ESPN3 contests also occur at home, including Ohio State, North Carolina (Nov. 1), NC State (Nov. 3) and Wake Forest (Nov. 22).
Follow Florida State indoor volleyball throughout the offseason on Seminoles.com as well as on the team's official Twitter (@FSU_Volleyball) and Facebook pages (Facebook.com/FSUVolleyball).