Oct. 17, 2003
She is always the first player on the court, and often the last player to leave the court for the Florida State University volleyball team.
Jennifer Anderson exemplifies what senior leadership is all about. With seven newcomers on the team and only two fourth-year seniors, the team focuses on Anderson for guidance and advice, on and off the court.
“Being a senior is difficult because the team looks to you all the time, so you constantly have to be a role model, you constantly have to be that leader they can look to.”
Anderson got her start in volleyball at a young age. Her mother, who Jennifer attributes as the biggest influence in her life, coaches at a local high school in her home town in Illinois. Anderson used to tag along with her mother to practices and to matches. Being around volleyball so much helped her become, as she calls herself, a “gym rat.”
As she picked up on the skills and techniques of the game, her mother got her involved in club volleyball. Her play in club ball encouraged and prepared Anderson the most for college volleyball.
Anderson has seen her fair share of changes to the Florida State program during her four years and has met the transitions head on. First recruited by Cecile Reynaud, she joined the program with high expectations. Anderson enjoyed a great start to her career under the guidance of Coach Reynaud, but after her sophomore year, Coach Reynaud retired from coaching. Finding a coach to replace this great mentor would be hard to do. Todd Kress, from Northern Illinois, was then announced as the new head coach. Since Kress had recruited Jennifer out of high school, she was already familiar with his coaching philosophy. She was a key factor in the transition period between the two coaches. The team rallied together to finish the season with a winning record of 21-13 in 2002.
Anderson has enjoyed a remarkable journey through Florida State volleyball thus far. She is currently ranked second in assists with 4,515 for her career and needs only 290 to become Florida State’s all-time career leader.
Although achieving this milestone would be thrilling, Anderson stays team-goal oriented. Her top three goals for this season do not even include an individual record. Her goals consist of winning the ACC championship, participating in the NCAA tournament, and having the team ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
“I’m excited about it [career assists record], but it really doesn’t matter to me. What matters more is the team’s success.”
Anderson’s team-before-self attitude may have been a deciding factor when the squad selected her as this year’s captain. Along with the honor of being captain, comes added responsibility. Underclassmen and newcomers especially will look to the captain throughout the season for extra direction and will come to her as the liaison between themselves and the coaching staff. As captain, Anderson pushes herself harder while also encouraging the rest of the team to do the same. Representing the team as captain may be difficult, but as Jennifer said, she “loves a challenge.”
Anderson’s success on the court can only be matched by her success off the court. After graduating high school as valedictorian, Anderson continues to maintain a near perfect grade point average with only two B’s on her transcript at Florida State. She has learned to juggle school and volleyball by running on little sleep in order to cram every bit of studying into her busy schedule.
“I’ve learned time management and that’s probably the most important thing in college.”
Her hard work in the classroom has paid off by being selected to the ACC academic honor roll all three years in college.
As a freshman, Anderson received one of the highest awards possible, the President’s Award. This award is presented to one outstanding freshman student-athlete who has demonstrated service to the university and shows great potential for future leadership and success. Jennifer currently is a member of FSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board and represents Florida State on the ACC Student-Athlete Advisory Board.
As the end of her Florida State career approaches, Jennifer looks to stay focused while having fun in the process. She keeps a positive attitude and believes that every year has the potential to be better than the last.
Reflecting on her career at Florida State, Jennifer says, “I look back now, and I wouldn’t want to be anything but a Seminole.”
As a wonderful athlete, an ideal student, and a great role model, Jennifer Anderson is the personification of a true Seminole.
By Jennifer Cannon
Florida State Sports Information