Nov. 16, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Florida State indoor volleyball head coach Chris Poole has announced the team's early signees for the 2013 recruiting class, which include Orlando-area standouts Hailey Luke and Isabel Carmona.
Both Luke and Carmona inked their National Letters of Intent to play for what has become one of the nation's most competitive collegiate volleyball programs. With Florida State standing to lose four important pieces following the season to graduation, it was vital for Poole and his staff to start the recruiting class off right with a couple of early signees who will add quality depth to next year's roster.
"I am really proud of this 2013 recruiting class," Poole said. "We certainly needed a lot of depth with our 2012 class and ended up with the third best class in the nation. Our 2013 class had very specific needs. We wanted to get a great setter and we wanted to get a physical, athletic right side. We accomplished both of our objectives with Hailey Luke and Izzy Carmona."
Both incoming student-athletes happened to play together at one of the top clubs in the amateur volleyball circuit. Their experience against top-notch competition during the high school offseason figures to pay dividends when they come to Florida State next season and compete against a group split evenly with upperclassmen and underclassmen.
"We were also able to do this with two Orlando players that happened to play on one of the best club programs in the nation at Orlando Volleyball Academy," Poole added. "Both these young ladies have been part of tremendous success as teammates on a team that has won multiple national championships and each year their age group has competed against the very best in the nation."
Luke (Altamonte Springs, Fla./Lake Brantley HS) made her name as a do-everything player at Lake Brantley High. While she fits Florida State's need as a multi-talented setter, Luke was an outside hitter, right-side hitter and a setter in high school. Her senior season included a large average of 6.6 kills per set, 570 total kills and 38 service aces. As a junior, she recorded 424 kills, 727 digs, 114 blocks, 72 service aces and even added 360 assists.
In 19 of her 26 matches played in her senior year, Luke amassed 20 or more kills. She reached the 30-kill mark five times in 2012, highlighted by a 35-kill effort in a five-set match against Lyman High on Oct. 10. Overall, she recorded 317 digs and added 40 total blocks while making a name as one of the state's top performers.
"Hailey is another gifted, tall setter that also plays as a hitter for both her high school and club programs," Poole said. "Hailey is from a volleyball family and has tremendous experience. She is a big time go-to player that understands pressure and thrives on making big plays for her team. With losing Duygu (Duzceler) this year, we knew that finding another setter for the future was a big priority for our program. Sarah Wickstrom stepped in last year as a freshman and made a huge impact for our program. Hailey has great credentials and I can see her also stepping up as a freshman and making an impact in her first season."
Carmona (Titusville, Fla./Holy Trinity Episcopal HS) is another multi-purpose athlete who starred on her high school squad and through club ball as a right-side hitter. She is a consistent blocker who tallied 49 in her senior season while adding 208 kills and 64 digs. As a junior, she picked up 179 kills and recorded 49 total blocks.
Carmona's strong career at Holy Trinity Episcopal continues despite the season being over. She was selected to play in the Senior Showcase on Nov. 30 at Merritt Island High, where she will compete with some of the top players across Florida. Her strong all-around skills which also includes quality passing and defense is expected to be a great fit for the Seminoles, who lose a right-side hitter to graduation after this season.
"Izzy is one of the best athletes in the nation," Poole said. "She stands at about 6'3" and touches around 10'5". She has broad shoulders and is very strong. Izzy has the potential to be one of the most physical and athletic right sides I have ever coached. She has the opportunity to make an impact as a big time blocker for us immediately and we look for her to grow and mature as a force nationally in the future. Izzy has physical qualities that cannot be taught. We look forward to helping her reach her fullest potential in our program."