March 24, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 2008 volleyball season was one of the most successful in the last five years for Florida State. In his first year at the helm of the program, head coach Chris Poole led the Seminoles to a 21-9 record, which are the most wins the Noles have recorded since going 21-13 in 2002 under then-head coach Todd Kress.
For the third consecutive season, FSU finished conference play with 13 wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference, good for a fifth-place ranking. A couple of key wins came at home in Tully Gym against top ACC teams Clemson and Georgia Tech.
With the 2009 season in its sights, the Florida State volleyball team will compete in a number of spring tournaments in March and April before taking a break for the summer.
On tap will be a Central Florida Tournament in Orlando, Fla., on March 28 followed by a trip north to Atlanta, Ga., for a Georgia Tech/Georgia State Tournament on Sunday, April 5. The spring season will wrap up with a Gator Tournament in Gainesville on April 11 and the Beach Challenge in Siesta Key, Fla., on April 18.
Coach Poole shares some of his thoughts on the off-season:
– What are your thoughts on the upcoming spring schedule?
“This will be a very competitive spring schedule for our players. Each tournament will offer excellent teams and give us a good measuring stick to what kind of improvement we have made this year. I am excited to get out on the court and actually play a different opponent. While the spring season is about individual training and making improvement, obviously it is fun for the girls to get to play. We have a full squad this spring with our numbers. In fact, we are in better shape this spring then we were in the fall as far as players available for competition.”
– What are the coaches hoping to accomplish this spring?
“We have been working really hard to get the girls in great shape this spring. Our focus has been on building speed and their jump touch. We want to be a more explosive, athletic team. We have been in individual work since January and had our first full team practice on March 16. The girls understand that we were close at the end of the season and made a lot of improvement throughout the season, however, we were still left short of the expectations this staff has for the program. The girls want to be good next fall and we are trying to help them reach their fullest potential.”
– How important is the spring season in preparing for the fall?
“Each program has about two to three weeks at the most to train in the August pre-season session. It is impossible to get everything achieved during that time. The spring season allows us a head start and the opportunity to see a lot of different line-ups and position play from each of the players. It gives a player the chance to earn playing time and show what they are capable of doing during a match. Point blank, the fall season is about winning. There is no time to experiment with a lot of different options. Our schedule is very tough and we have to be ready to compete from day one in the fall.”
– How is the fall 2009 schedule shaping up?
“This is a very competitive fall schedule. It is still a work in progress, because we simply came in very late in the summer to try and accomplish everything we could with our 2009 schedule. However, there are eight non-conference matches with 2008 NCAA Tournament teams involved (Florida, Kansas State, Northern Iowa, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, Albany, Florida A&M and North Dakota State). We also have Notre Dame coming to Tallahassee, which is a traditional NCAA Tournament team. The ACC will be extremely tough this season with three teams gaining experience in the 2008 NCAA Tournament (North Carolina, Duke and Clemson) and Miami just missing the trip. The Hurricanes also returns most of their players for 2009. There are a lot of exciting things happening in this conference and don’t be surprised to see more teams getting national recognition this season.”
– Any new faces joining the Seminoles for 2009?
Sareea Freeman (6’4″, middle blocker)
“She will be one of the most athletic players in the conference. Her potential is very great and she will immediately impact our team with her athleticism. Sareea is young in experience, but with training, could become a dominate middle at the Top 25 level.”
Fatma Yildirim (6’0″, left side)
“She is one of the best outsides in the world. Fatma has been a starter for the very successful Turkish National Team program. Her Youth National team finished second to China in the 2007 World Championships. This is a player that has been well trained and will bring a tremendous amount of volleyball experience to our program.”
Duygu Duzceler (5’8″, setter)
“Duygu is a very good setter from the Turkish National Team program. She is considered one of the top three best setters in Turkey and also has a tremendous amount of volleyball experience. She joined us in January, so she is currently training with our team and providing good competition in the setting position. It was difficult for us last fall, because we only had Nikki Baker available in matches and most practices. It has been nice having two setters in practice full time this spring and we expect our offense and timing to be much better next fall. It was tough not having a setter on both sides of the net.”