June 24, 2014
Rising seniors Katie Mosher and Sarah Wickstrom along with junior Mercedes Vaughn have begun their journey with the U.S. Collegiate National Team Program, which is held at the University of Minnesota from June 22 – July 1.
The CNT program includes 36 of the top collegiate players in the country that are training and competing in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships. Mosher, Wickstrom and Vaughn are listed among the roster that is broken down into nine middle blockers, nine outside hitters, six opposites, six setters and six liberos.
The Seminoles have started their training sessions before the whole program is broken down into three teams for a round-robin tournament (June 27-30).
Here is what the Noles had to say about their first couple of days of their trip:
We left Tallahassee bright and early Sunday morning and got to Minnesota around noon (CT). When we arrived on campus and we got to get the first part of our gear and then we had a few hours to explore campus and the city. We went to a local sport bar/restaurant called the Big Ten (yes we were decked out in our FSU gear).
After lunch, we got to meet our roommates and then head to our first session which was from 6-8. During the entire session we got to play a “Jim Bering” style tournament. They spilt us up onto three courts, 12 players on each court. It was half court doubles and everyone played with everyone at least once and against everyone twice. It was a really fun way to start off the training because it brought out the competitive atmosphere out right away.
Following our session we were able to talk to the lead coaches and they established what they are looking for during the remainder of the program and what we can do to keep improving. They were telling us the things they look for in players when putting together the Olympic team so being able to take their instructions and guidance and allow us to use it during these training session is a big advantage and very beneficial.
We started off with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and we had our first session at 9. We were at tad sore (from the travel and the previous session) but we were excited to start the next day of training.
Our first session ran from 9-12 and it was focused mainly of serve and pass. They put a huge emphasis on this part of the game so they really spent a lot of time breaking things down and making sure we were focused the whole time. The lead coaches explained to us the importance of serve and pass because the level of competition in other countries is extremely high. Being the best team at serve and pass will either make or break your success at the top level.
Next session was from 3-6 and it was focused on defense and ball control. After dinner we got to do a team activity where we were broken up into six teams of six players and did a series of minute to win it games. It was a really fun way to bond with everyone and being athletes and natural competitors, everyone got super into it and very intense which made it very entertaining to say the least.
By 9 p.m., everyone is ready to pass out and do it all again in the morning!
That’s all from the Noles in Minnesota! Until next time…Go USA! Go Noles!
-Katie, Sarah and Mercedes