Nov. 28, 2006
GREENSBORO, N.C. –
For a pair of Florida State volleyball players, expectations were very high for the 2006 season. Junior outside hitter Makini Thompson was tabbed as one of the top players in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a spot on the Preseason All-ACC team, while freshman middle blocker Brianna Barry was a Top 50 recruit. Both lived up to their billings as Thompson was named First-Team All-ACC and Barry garnered a spot on the ACC All-Freshmen Team as announced by the league office on Tuesday (November 28).
Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) is the third Seminole in a row to receive First-Team All-ACC honors, following sisters Amanda and Andreza Santos. She is the 12th Florida State player to make the First-Team and FSU’s 21st overall All-ACC selection. Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) is the eighth Seminole to make the all-rookie team and the first since 2003.
Florida State has had a First-Team selection in four of head coach Todd Kress’ five seasons and Thompson is the third in the row under his direction. Her selection marks the third time Florida State has had three First-Team players in a row.
“It’s a great accomplishment for Makini,” Kress said. “She’s been injured her first couple of seasons and this was the first year she was able to put up big numbers the entire way through. I think she was very steady, very consistent and I think this award speaks to not only was she healthy the entire season but she put up consistent numbers the entire year and is deserving of First-Team All-ACC.”
The Seminoles’ top offensive player, Thompson played her best during ACC matches. She upped her overall rate of 3.95 kills per game – which ranks as the eighth-best rate in school history and third in the league- to 4.12 kpg. to rate second during ACC games. She also rates fifth in the conference at 4.43 points per game during ACC matches and eighth in the league at 4.30 ppg. overall.
This season Thompson topped the 20 kill-plateau on five occasions with double-digit kills in 22 of Florida State’s 31 matches. She set career-highs with 26 kills and 26.5 points against Virginia. Thompson’s 423 kills is the most by a Seminole since First-Team All-Region selection Kristen Frye had 469 in 2002 and she needs 382 during her senior season to become the 21st player in FSU history to record 1,000 kills.
“I’m really honored to receive the award, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Thompson said. “Getting the preseason honor was definitely motivation for me throughout the year because the coaches thought I was good enough to make All-ACC, but then it was on my shoulders to prove that I belong on there and make the team at the end of the season.”
Barry not only measured up to the league’s best freshmen, but across the board against all players in the conference. The 6-foot-3 rookie finished fifth in the conference, first among freshmen, with a .325 hitting percentage, that she upped to .334 during league matches to rate sixth. Barry was also tops on the team with 0.98 blocks per game that rated fifth amongst ACC rookies as did her 2.52 kpg., which is the best rate by a Seminole freshman since 2003 ACC Freshman of the Year Cassie McLaughlin.
“The two toughest positions I think going in as a freshmen are setter, where you’re the quarterback, and middle blocker where you’re exposed to the speed of the game at the collegiate level and I thought Brianna did a tremendous job,” Kress added. “Her maturation process was very quick throughout the season. She learned on a daily basis in practice and matches and she just got better, better and better. Her future is very bright and we’re thrilled to have her on the All-Freshmen team.”
After a solid start to her collegiate career, Barry made her mark against No. 10 USC as she produced a team-high 11 kills. She had 14 matches with 10 or more kills, including a career-high 16 against Georgia Tech. Barry hit .300 or higher in 18 of FSU’s 31 matches with six contests of .500 or better, including an FSU-best .714 versus Maryland. She put a team-high eight blocks at South Carolina and Wake Forest.
“I was excited when the coaches first told me,” Barry said. “Coming in as a freshman you have to prove who you are to the coaches, upperclassmen and your fellow freshmen. That was the hardest part for me, but also the easiest at the same time because I was just who I was; putting forth 100% effort during practice and matches so to be recognized for what I did during the season is the most exciting part.”
Florida State finished the 2006 season in fourth place in the ACC with a school record 13-8 mark. Overall, the Seminoles wrapped up Kress’ fifth season with a 19-12 record, the second most wins during his tenure. Florida State brings back four starts and 10 letterwinners for the 2007 seasons.