Dec. 22, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Continuing to build Florida State into one of the top teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference as well as an emerging program on the national scene, Florida State volleyball coach Todd Kress has signed four highly touted players to National Letters of Intent. Forming the Class of 2007 is Stephanie Neville, Jordana Price, Lauren Richardson and Lauren Rosenthal.
Neville (Cambridge, Ontario) is a 6-foot-2 outside hitter/right side freshman from Jacob Hespeler Secondary School. Price (Mountain Home, Idaho) is 6-foot-1 sophomore transfer middle blocker from the College of Southern Idaho. Richardson (Ocala, Fla.) is a 6-foot-1 freshman that will play outside/right side. Rosenthal (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is the third freshman in the class and will challenge for the starting spot at setter.
"We lose a lot of experience with our senior class so when we signed this class we were looking for players that can step in and contribute immediately," Kress said. "We're recruiting student-athletes that can play anywhere in the country and we feel all four of these players can help us achieve our goal of being one of the top programs in the nation."
Florida State went north of the border to get one of the top players in Canada. Neville has been a member of the Canadian Junior National and Youth National Teams the last three years and helped them take fourth at this year's NORCECA Junior Women's Continental Championships. She has been the JHSS Female Athlete of the Year and the volleyball MVP the last three seasons.
Neville plays for the Waterloo Tigers Volleyball Club, under the direction of Russ Woloshyn. In addition to volleyball, Neville played badminton and soccer at Jacob Hespeler, earning MVP honors on the badminton team the last three years.
If history is any indication, Price may be on her way to All-America honors, following in the footsteps of Amanda and Andreza Santos, who became FSU's first two All-Americans after transferring from Southern Idaho. One advantage Price has is that she has three years of eligibility remaining since she redshirted during her freshman season at Oregon State.
In her lone season at Southern Idaho, Price was tops on the team and second in the Scenic West Athletic Conference at 1.21 blocks per game as she earned First-Team All-Region 18 honors. She was seventh in the league and second on the team with a .295 hitting percentage, while her 2.78 kills were 10th in the SWAC and runner-up on the team. During her prep career, she was a two-time all-conference selection at Mountain Home High School as well as a Second-Team All-State pick her junior year.
In signing Richardson, Florida State kept one of the best players in the state of Florida. A product of St. John's Lutheran High School, she was a four year 1A All-State selection by the Florida Sportswriters Association, garnering First Team honors in 2005 and 2006 after Second Team accolades as a freshman and sophomore. In addition, Richardson was the runner for the Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Volleyball award this year.
The Ocala Star Banner Player of the Year the last three seasons, she finished her career with 1,477 kills, 350 blocks, 363 aces, 399 assists and 354 digs. This season she had over 300 kills and 300 assists in leading St. John's to the finals of the FHSAA tournament. Richardson has led Laura Duncan's Saints squad to at least the semifinals of the state tournament all four years of her career and they posted a 95-17 record during her tenure. She plays for her father Craig Richards on the Brick City Slam club team.
If the Seminoles are looking for someone who has experience winning championship, then the 5-foot-10 Rosenthal is the player for them as she led Colorado Spring Christian School to three-straight 3A state titles. This year she earned her second All-Colorado selection by the Rocky Mountain News after averaging 11.3 assists for her father Veryln's prep team.
In addition to her pair of All-Colorado accolades, Rosenthal garnered All-State honors her last two seasons from the Denver Post, which named her Female Student-Athlete of the Week on December 2. Last season she collected All-America honors from prepvolleyball.com as well as the NCSAA. Rosenthal plays for the Front Range Volleyball Club where she was a member of the 16 Open team that won the 2004 Junior Olympic National Championship.
Florida State had the second-best turnaround in the ACC this season as they improved by six wins to post a 19-12 mark as well as a fourth-place 13-9 record in the league. The Seminoles bring back six players that started at least 14 matches last year, including AVCA All-American Makini Thompson. www.seminoles.com