Nov. 30, 2007
Tallahassee, Fla. - The 2008 Florida State volleyball team will welcome two new faces from the state of Ohio, Abby Niekamp from Celina and Alliya Drzewiecki from Toledo. Both played for the Team Atlantis club that made five consecutive trips to the Junior Olympic National Tournament and brought home a championship in 2004.
Niekamp, a six-foot-three middle blocker, will become the first in FSU program history to join the team in January after graduating from Marion Local High School this fall. In 2006 and 2007, she was a first team All-Ohio selection and a member of the District All-Star team. As the captain of her high school squad In 2007, Niekamp was honored by her teammates with the Most Valuable Player and Most Inspirational Player awards.
"Abby is a great kid with a great personality," Florida State head coach Todd Kress said. "She's a middle blocker that has a lot of up-side and she's really just now starting to realize how good she could be in the future.
"Abby is a great athlete with a good jump and good lateral quickness. It will be good to have her here in the winter, knowing that she will be able to train with us in the spring. As a program we've never been able to have a freshman graduate from high school early and come in early. For her to have that opportunity will benefit her greatly and get her up to speed where she can be a major impact for us next year."
Drzewiecki, a six-foot-one outside hitter, comes to Florida State from St. Ursula Academy where she was a captain in her senior season. In 2007, she was a first-team honoree on the All-City, All-Ohio and All-District teams. Also this year, Drzewiecki was Volleyball Magazine's Player of the Month and was listed on PrepVolleyball.com's Top 250 High School Seniors.
"Alliya hits with a lot of pace and has a great arm swing," Kress said. "She's a solid ball-control player and I know that's an area I know she is looking to improve upon more in the club season and over the summer before coming on board. We feel she can be a great outside hitter for our program and in the ACC conference and have a significant impact early on because she is a developed player."
With all three Florida State coaches hailing from the Midwest and Kress being a native of Ohio, it was natural to scout players from that area.
Kress added, "When we signed both Abby and Alliya, we thought they were two players that would not take a long period of time to make an impact at Florida State."