March 23, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Two members of the Florida State University indoor volleyball team in middle blocker Sareea Freeman and setter Sarah Wickstrom were two of 48 collegiate players selected to the U.S. Women’s A2 Program, announced by USA Volleyball.
Both student-athletes were key figures in FSU volleyball’s recent run to the NCAA National Semifinals in 2011, and will now have an opportunity to compete with some of the nation’s best talent at the collegiate level while enhancing their own skills.
The 48 U.S. Women’s National A2 Team Program players hail from 34 different collegiate programs. The A2 program includes eight liberos, 12 middle blockers, 14 outside hitters, six opposites and eight setters.
Training begins June 26 at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, while the matches will be held June 30 to July 4 during the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (GJNC) at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. During the pre-tournament training session, the 48 athletes will be divided into four teams of 12 players that will play one match per day during the GJNC. All matches will be A2 competing against each other in a round-robin format followed by a semifinal and final round.
“I feel that moving the U.S. Women’s National A2 Program to be in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships will be a very positive move for the program,” USA Volleyball Senior Director Tom Pingel said. “The exposure and impact that the program and its athletes will have at the GJNC will far surpass that experienced at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships with the adults competing. It will also be a `win’ for the GJNC event and its participants.”
Freeman is expected to be a tremendous force in FSU’s front line as she begins her senior season in the fall. The Fresno, Calif., native finished 37th nationally in blocks per set in 2011, averaging 1.25. Her monstrous performance at the NCAA Regional Finals against Iowa State propelled FSU to its first ever trip to the final four, as she recorded a double-double with 12 kills, a .500 hitting percentage and 10 blocks. In the final 15-point set, Freeman dominated defensively with three blocks, including her final one that gave FSU a 12-10 advantage late in the set.
Wickstrom was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team after helping mold the Seminoles into one of the nation’s better offensive groups in 2011. In FSU’s two-setter rotation, the Stuart, Fla., native put together 642 assists and averaged 4.98 assists per set. Wickstrom also added 217 digs, and recorded seven doubles-doubles to highlight the strong start to her collegiate career.
The 2012 U.S. Women’s National A2 Team program was selected through the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts held Feb. 10-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. A record 207 athletes participated in the tryout. Athletes in college and with collegiate eligibility remaining for the 2012 collegiate season not selected to join the U.S. Women’s National Team were eligible for the U.S. Women’s A2 program.
In addition to the new competition format, the U.S. Women’s National A2 Program expanded from 36 players to 48 players in 2012.
Wickstrom and Freeman’s participation in this year’s USA Volleyball competition marks the second year FSU volleyball has had student-athletes part of the USA Women’s A2 Program. Last summer, libero Katie Mosher and right-side hitter Elise Walch were selected to the program’s junior national team and helped it win a championship at the European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia.