Aug. 18, 2004
After a rebuilding year in 2003 that introduced eight newcomers to the Seminole volleyball program, FSU has the experience and athleticism that will have them ready to make a run at its first ACC Championship since 1998. Florida State returns 11 players who saw action in 2003 including ACC and East Region Rookie of the Year Cassie McLaughlin which will provide Head Coach Todd Kress with the most depth at every position since his arrival at FSU in 2002.
Sophomore setter Jessica Skower will take over the reigns at setter with the departure of Jennifer Anderson, Florida State’s all-time leader in assists. After having a strong spring, Skower will finally get her chance to step in and run the Seminole offense on an every day basis. Skower had 604 assists in part-time duty behind four-year starter Anderson in 2003. The Seminoles also return five seniors including middles Aisha Carr and Amanda Santos, so leadership is something Kress is not worried about.
With former Olympian Rita Buck-Crockett joining the Seminole coaching staff, Kress is finally putting all of the pieces of his program together. Look for Florida State Volleyball to make a lot of noise in the ACC and on the national scene.
Coach Kress said on the Season:
“This year we have the opportunity to be very good. There are a number of things that have to fall into place for that to happen. We have to have the leadership rise to the top and have those people set the expectations and uphold the standards. The thing with our sophomores, who played in 90-100 percent of our matches last year is it’s not going to be anything new for them this year. The one benefit we are going to get out of last year is all of those young kids getting all of that experience. With any year, you need a little luck and you have to stay healthy. If we can stay healthy and some things fall into place for us, I think we are going to be very exciting to watch.”
The 2004 schedule provides a great deal of competition for the Seminoles as FSU will have home matches with nationally ranked Florida and UC Santa Barbara. Along with the Gators, Florida State will play in-state matches with Stetson, Central Florida, South Florida and new ACC foe Miami. The Seminoles face seven teams in 2004 that appeared in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, five of those advanced to the second round. FSU hosts two tournaments in September prior to conference play. Sam Houston State, Stetson and South Alabama will be in town for the FSU Invitational, Sept. 3-4. The final home tournament, the FSU Classic, will put Florida State against Troy, Winthrop and George Mason. Winthrop and George Mason were both NCAA Tournament teams last year. The Seminoles also travel to the University of Michigan for the Michigan/Pepsi Challenge, Sept. 10-11. This year’s ACC Tournament will be held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., Nov. 18-21.
Coach Kress on the 2004 Schedule:
“The way the schedule works out for us is our home tournaments will give us the opportunity to play some different people and take a look at some different lineups. The other part of the non-conference schedule with Florida and UC Santa Barbara both being in here, those are tremendous matches for us to have here in Tully. This is a great opportunity for our program and our kids to play against that kind of competition in the preseason which will prepare us for the ACC. I don’t say anymore that the ACC is becoming an elite conference, it is an elite conference, with Georgia Tech making the Elite 8 last year and North Carolina the year before in the Sweet 16. Two years ago we were a part of four teams participating in the NCAA Tournament. I think we are at the level now that we should expect to do that. The addition of Miami and Virginia Tech only strengthens that. We don’t have to do a whole lot of scheduling outside the conference just because of the strength within it and with the quality of matches we play day in and day out and every weekend in the ACC.”