Feb. 9, 2012
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Three Seminole student-athletes in Sarah Wickstrom, Sareea Freeman and Nicole Walch will compete in the USA Volleyball open tryouts this weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo., in a quest to make the U.S. Women’s Senior A2 program.
Two of the three attendees in Wickstrom and Freeman were key players in FSU’s run to the NCAA National Semifinals. In 2011, Freeman finished 37th nationally in blocks per set with 1.25 while totaling 156 blocks. She was named to the Minneapolis Regional All-Tournament Team after combining for 19 blocks in victories over fifth-seeded Purdue and fourth-seeded Iowa State. Included in the Elite Eight victory over the Cyclones was her second career double-double, tallying 12 kills and 10 blocks.
“We are very excited to have three young ladies competing in the National Team try-outs,” head coach Chris Poole said. “Sareea really came on strong the last half of the season. She played as well as anyone on our team through the NCAA Tournament. I believe she is ready to step up big time for us on the court and the try-outs will give her an opportunity to show her improvement over the past year.”
Athletes in college and with collegiate eligibility remaining for the 2012 collegiate season not selected to join the U.S. Women’s National Team may be invited to participate with the U.S. Women’s Senior A2 program. This program is scheduled to take place in Columbus, Ohio, from June 26 through July 5. A projected 48 athletes will be invited to participate in the program, which will include training and competing at the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (GJNC) from July 1-4.
Wickstrom enjoyed a fine freshman season at FSU, earning All-ACC Freshman honors. The Stuart, Fla., native finished with nearly five assists per set and tallied 629 assists altogether. Wickstrom teamed with fellow setter Duygu Duzceler to help make FSU’s offensive attack one of the best in school history.
“Sarah was a great surprise for us this fall,” Poole added. “We initially planned to redshirt her, but due to injuries in that position we had to play her as a true freshman. Sarah did a great job in the setter position and made huge strides as the season progressed.”
Walch was not a member of the 2011 squad but is an early enrollee who is part of a heralded 2012 signing class. The talented outside hitter is in the process of individual training to help get her acclimated to the collegiate level, and is prepared to help out the Seminoles immediately next season.
“Nicole made the USA Junior National A2 team last summer and we are fortunate to have her graduating a semester early and joining our program this spring,” Poole said. “Nicole has already improved a lot in the transition to college volleyball. She has been working with both the Sand team and the indoor team and that experience has moved her forward with her confidence and skill level. We are excited to see her compete this spring with our program.