Oct. 2, 2007
The 2007 Seminole Volleyball team comes from many different parts of the country and from a few international countries as well. With a squad representing eight different states and two international countries, it’s easy to see the diversity among the team’s roster. No matter how alike or different the girls might be, there is one part of Jackie BonSalle’s background that most Seminole student-athletes can’t share.
Growing up with a bunch of siblings, all of them brothers, and a former professional athlete as a father, there certainly was a lot of testosterone in the BonSalle household. None of that phased or deterred the Seminole outside hitter from attaining her athletic goals, however, as she continues to be a solid and consistent contributor to Coach Todd Kress’ team.
BonSalle arrived at Florida State with a quite impressive athletic resume. She was chosen to play on several USA Volleyball teams throughout her high school career and her success earned her a spot on the U.S. National Development Team. She brought all of that success and experience to Tallahassee when she enrolled at FSU in the fall of 2006.
“I think I contribute a lot of energy and consistency in my play. I am also accountable for anything I do on and off the court,” BonSalle said.
Playing at a high and successful level was just one of the things taught to BonSalle by her father, George. The senior BonSalle enjoyed a successful athletic career of his own; but, instead of spiking and digging volleyballs, the elder BonSalle was shooting and dribbling basketballs.
George had a standout career at the University of Illinois prior to being a first round pick in the NBA Draft. Selected by the Syracuse Nationals in the 1957 draft, he decided to take his talents to the now defunct Industrial League and at the international level, as well. Jackie’s father, who stands a towering 6-foot-8, won a gold medal for the U.S. National Team in the 1959 Pan-American Games but was unable to play in the 1960 Summer Olympics held in Rome.
“My dad always wanted me to play basketball, naturally. I had to sit him down and tell him that I didn’t want to play basketball and that I wanted to play volleyball. He’s always held me to a high standard. He says `You’re a BonSalle’ and gives me that talk. He always wants what is best for me,” said BonSalle.
The BonSalle mentality has led Jackie to become one of the Seminoles’ biggest contributors on the court this year. Playing in all 11 of Florida State’s matches so far this season, Jackie is fourth on the team with 77 kills. Her 2.26 kills per game average is also fourth on the team and second among freshmen and sophomores (behind Brianna Barry). BonSalle and Barry’s combination of skill and size coupled together with the talents of Lauren Young, Nikki Baker, Malorie Wessel and Jordana Price, have formed one of the strongest sophomore classes at Florida State in recent memory.
The six second year players have helped the Seminoles win four matches thus far. BonSalle wants to make it clear that despite the disappointing start, the Seminoles still have high expectations.
“Team-wise my goal is to win the ACC and hopefully make it to the NCAA Tournament. Individually, I just want to become a more consistent player and contribute everything that I can to the team,” she said.
With more than half of the season left to play, anything and everything is certainly a possibility. It was around this time last year that the Seminoles propelled themselves to the front of the ACC pack by winning eight of nine conference matches. BonSalle and her teammates will look to start a similar streak during this weekend’s home stand as they march towards a postseason appearance.