Dec. 15, 2011
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (seminoles.com) - Florida State volleyball associate head coach Holly Watts was named the 2011 American Volleyball Coaches Association National Assistant Coach of the Year, announced today by the Kentucky-based organization at the annual Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center.
Watts' impact has been greatly felt on the defensive end, as she serves as the middle blockers coach who has guided the Seminoles to one of the best blocking units in the nation. Under the tutelage of Watt's teachings this year, middle blockers Ashley Neff and Sareea Freeman have enjoyed career years, while FSU sits seventh nationally with 2.98 blocks per set.
Watts' award coincidently comes nearby her hometown of Devine, Texas, about 35 miles from San Antonio.
"This whole trip has been really exciting with our team and coming back to San Antonio to be in the Final Four is just amazing," Watts said. "It's just a little piece of cake to go along with the cake; it's not the icing on top yet because we have a lot of things to do. It's really exciting and there's no way I could have accomplished anything like this without all the people around me."
Neff has emerged as the nation's leader in total blocks with 192, while Freeman averaged 2.11 blocks per set in the Minneapolis Regional and was named to the regional's all-tournament team. Within conference play, Neff (1.62), Freeman (1.29) and Rachael Morgan (1.05) each averaged over one block per set to rank within the Top nine in the ACC. Watts' middle blockers have finished high in the conference each season in blocks per set after she took over a group that finished last prior to her arrival in the 2008 season.
Teaming with head coach Chris Poole and assistant coach Gokhan Yilmaz, Watts has helped lead FSU volleyball to an unprecedented season that includes the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA national semifinals. The 12th-seeded Seminoles face ninth-seeded UCLA this evening at 7 p.m. ET at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The match will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and also streamed on ESPN3.com.