Aug. 14, 2000
TALAHASSEE, Fla. — The 2000 season will be filled with questions for Florida State Head
Volleyball Coach Dr. Cecile Reynaud and her Lady Seminoles, but the answers are there. It’s just a matter of finding where the answers fit best. Once that is accomplished, there will be no stopping the Lady Seminoles.
“I feel good about the student-athletes we have in our program,” Reynaud says. “They work hard in practice and do what we ask them to do. It is just a matter of experience and figuring out just what it will take to win.”
FSU returns 10 letterwinners, including five starters, and welcomes three new players to the program. Injuries plagued the squad in 1999, which allowed several players the opportunity to see action at different
“The newcomers are going to provide some competition for starting positions,” Reynaud says. “Even though we will have a more experienced team, we are still going to be young, with Jennifer Werrick being our only senior. Norisha (Campbell) has a full year of experience and Elizabeth (Pound) played in about half of the matches but the rest of them really have just one year of experience.”
The Lady Seminoles will also be able to reap the benefits of the European trip the team took in May. The Tribe embarked on a 16-day journey through Germany, the Czech Republic and Denmark. The Lady Seminoles played eight matches against teams from the Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland.
“The trip was very pleasant,” Reynaud says. “It was just a great experience for the team and the staff. I think we learned a lot about each other on the trip. Our extra week of training and competing against some very talented European teams should pay dividends this fall.
“Our players should come back this year with more confidence. They have been through the whole routine now and know what’s expected and they know what it’s going to take to win our conference championship again.”
Lone senior Jennifer Werrick will anchor a talented group of outside hitters. Werrick ranked first on the team with 311 kills and was second in both digs (224) and hitting (.226) in 1999. Her knowledge will be most valuable considering that no other Lady Seminole at this position has more than one year of playing experience at FSU.
“Jen leads by her skills on the court,” Reynaud says. “She’s not a real vocal player, but the way she leads is by taking care of business on the court. She’s very good at all the different skills and can be a steady player.”
Sophomore Erica Bunch made a solid contribution as a rookie. Playing in 30 of 31 matches, Bunch ranked fourth on the team in kills with 244 and was third with 198 digs. She proved to be a very valuable in serving with 20 aces which ranked second on the team.
“While Erica had a very productive freshman year, I don’t think we’ve gotten even a glimpse of what she can offer,” Reynaud says. “Her overall general skills should make her a dominant player.”
Sophomore Kristin Frye began her FSU career in the starting lineup, but an injury hampered her progress. Frye, who played in 14 matches, was sidelined with a hairline fracture to her right ankle in early October, and missed the rest of the season. She came back this spring and played very well.
“We were pleased with how Kristin played in the spring,” Reynaud says. “She’s certainly got the athletic ability to be a strong player and is a good leader on the floor. She’s very competitive and very vocal with her teammates.”
Sophomore Alex Sevillano, who played in 27 matches last year and had her best performance against Wake Forest when she tallied 12 kills and nine digs, could challenge for a starting position.
“Alex is also an option as a left side hitter,” Reynaud says. “She’s very vocal and extremely competitive in every drill. She’s another player who can play on the left side or in the back row for one of the middles.”
Freshman Cerina Pele has the potential to come in and earn a starting position. The only player on the team from California, Pele, who hails from Gardena, was named the 1999 CIF Co-Player of the Year after leading her team to the Division 3 championship and state finals.
“Cerina is going to come in and challenge for starting honors on either the left or right side,” Reynaud says. “She has excellent ball-control skills and plays very good defense. She passes well, has a great jump and is a good blocker who knows the game of volleyball very well.”
Junior Luana Ruiz Azevedo played in 26 matches in 1999 and twice recorded 15 digs in a match. She will see most of her action on defense, but has valuable experience at outside hitter and will provide depth to the position. Sophomore Martha Hamilton improved her blocking when she got playing time in the spring and will serve as backup on the right side.
“Luana played some on the right side, but will probably be used more in the back row as a defensive player,” Reynaud says. “She’s got a good
serve and can dig the ball well.”
Norisha Campbell will use her 6-4 frame and long arms to lead the attack in the middle for the Tribe. Campbell ranked second on the team last season with 83 blocks and tallied double-digit kills in 16 matches. Although just a junior, Campbell should be one of this season’s conference leaders in attacking and blocking.
“This year is going to be more fun for Norisha,” Reynaud says. “Last year, she trained for most of the summer with the U.S. Junior National team and competed into the start of our season. She should come in fresh this year with a couple of months off this summer and should dominate in the middle. When Norisha gets the right set, she can put the ball away.”
Junior Elizabeth Pound and sophomores Dawn Hough and Kristin Frye will all vie for valuable playing time in the middle. Pound played in 21 matches in 1999 and improved every facet of her game. She served 13 straight points in the team’s 15-0 win in game four vs. NC State. Hough played in 20 matches and twice had a career-high 12 kills.
“Who we start is going to depend on a lot of different scenarios,” Reynaud says, “but I think Dawn is probably one of our stronger blockers in the middle. Elizabeth is also an excellent blocker. Kristin will see most of her playing time on the right side, but if we need to go that deep in the middle, we can go to her.”
Newcomer Marie Persson, a junior walk-on from Jacksonville, Fla., will backup both the middle and outside hitter positions.
Sophomore Jamie Hibbard and freshman Jennifer Anderson will battle it out for starting honors at setter. Hibbard emerged as the squad’s starting setter in 1999 and tallied 1,125 assists, which ranks eighth in the FSU single-season records. She also led the team with 253 digs. Anderson was a four-year letterwinner at Olympia High School in Stanford, Ill., who was selected to the All-Stater Sports Magazine’s Class of 2000 Volleyball Super 75.
“It’s exciting to know that we have two very capable setters in Jamie and Jennifer,” Reynaud says. “Jamie came in and ran a new system and progressed as the year went on.? “Jennifer grew up in a family that certainly knows volleyball as her mother is a volleyball coach. She’s from Illinois which is a very strong volleyball state. She’s intense and likes to win, so we’re anxious to see what she’s able to do on the floor.”
The Florida State Invitational with Southern Mississippi, Florida Atlantic, Charleston Southern and Illinois, Sept. 1st and 2nd, gets things started for the Lady Seminoles, followed by a visit from Alabama. The Ball State Tournament in Muncie, Ind., and the Lady Seminole Classic round out FSU’s regular-season tournament slate.
Samford, Notre Dame and Florida A&M will visit Tully Gym for the Lady Seminole Classic. All three of the tournaments include two teams that participated in NCAA postseason play last year. In all, FSU will play 14 matches against 1999 NCAA Tournament teams.
“Our schedule is going to be challenging,” Reynaud says. “We have a lot of home matches, but a very strong home schedule with some teams that have been ranked in the Top 20. We will also face teams from some of the nation’s top conferences. Our schedule is a little bit unusual in that we are not really playing any mid-week matches outside of Tallahassee.”
The Atlantic Coast Conference was rated the second-strongest conference in the nation last season and the league placed three teams in the NCAA Tournament. FSU will start the ACC season on the road at Maryland and Virginia and conclude on the road at Georgia Tech and Clemson.
“Several ACC schools lost some key people to graduation and will be going through what we did last year as far as rebuilding,” Reynaud says. “There will be a lot of new faces in the league and it will be a matter of getting your team to play together. Obviously, with our conference being the second ranked conference in the country, it’s going to be competitive as usual, but it looks to be pretty wide open.”