Nov. 16, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – While the current state of Florida State indoor volleyball is in good shape, the signing of four nationally-renowned players makes the immediate future even brighter as head coach Chris Poole has announced four talented performers who have signed their national letters of intent for the 2012 season.
FSU volleyball’s 2012 recruiting class includes arguably the nation’s top middle blocker in Sarah Burrington (Tampa, Fla./Riverview HS), another highly-touted middle blocker in Mara Green (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) and two outstanding outside hitters in Leah Mikesky (Schulenburg, Texas/Schulenburg HS) and Nicole Walch (Stuart, Fla./Martin County HS).
“We are very excited about this recruiting class,” Poole said. “When we arrived in the fall 2008, we knew we had to hit the ground running. Volleyball recruiting has moved to ninth and 10th graders and therefore most of the top juniors and seniors were already committed when we arrived. In order to compete nationally, our game plan was to fill in with transfers and international players while we went after the top ninth graders in the country. Gokhan and Holly did a great job of identifying the best ninth graders in the spring of 2009 and the results of the 2012 class are outstanding.
“I am very lucky to have two assistants that have been with me long enough that they know what I am looking for in a player and they did a great job helping to land a great class.”
According to PrepVolleyball.com, Burrington is rated the 15th best player in the 2012 senior class. She is a 6-foot-5 standout who is known for possessing the agility of someone who is smaller. Burrington helped Riverview to the 7A-Region 2 quarterfinals before ultimately losing to Lakeland in a five-setter. Burrington amassed 26 kills in her final match and finished her senior season averaging nearly four kills per set. Earlier in the year, Burrington was named to the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces Top 100 list.
Burrington plays club volleyball for the Tampa Bay Juniors, being called “the most mobile, balanced player with outstanding length that I have seen in years” by coach Randy Dagostino.
Green is another accomplished middle blocker who was called “the best blocker in the state of Georgia within the last 10 years” by one coach. Green is rated No. 23 in the 2012 senior class and is extremely athletic in terms of blocking at the net and finishing her attacks. The dominant middle averaged over five kills per set in her senior year and garnered 89 blocks while showing excellent leadership qualities at Eagles Landing Christian Academy. Green promises to be an entertaining presence on the court who can excite crowds with her tremendous leaping ability and passionate play. Her exceptional play helped ELCA win its first ever state championship.
Green also had the pleasure of playing several nationally-ranked club teams as a member of A5 Mizuno, which should help her experience as she transitions to the college level.
“Sarah and Mara were both middles for national championship level teams in the OPEN junior division,” Poole said of his two standout middles. “They are capable of playing middle or right side for our program and both are amazing athletes with a tremendous amount of upside. Sarah is 6-foot-5 but moves with the coordination and speed of someone 6-foot-1. Mara is about 6-foot-1 and has tremendous hang time with a 10-foot-4 jump. Both these young ladies can move laterally very well and will carry the tradition my teams have had in the past with tall, athletic players running a quick attack.”
Mikesky is a highly-skilled outside hitter who has always been the go-to option for her high school squad. She is ranked No. 39 in the 2012 class and posted outstanding numbers in her senior season, culminating her high school career with 6.3 kills per set, 466 digs, 105 service aces and 63 blocks. Mikesky has an extremely versatile game, being a strong finisher, passer and defender, and figures to contribute greatly once she dons the garnet and gold.
The Texas native also performed well as a member of TEXSTAR at the club level.
The final member of FSU’s impressive class is outside hitter Nicole Walch. The Stuart, Fla., native rounds out the 2012 signees ranked 53rd in PrepVolleyball.com’s senior class ratings. She is the younger sister of current Seminole right-side hitter Elise Walch, and is also known for her powerful attack. She guided Martin County to the Region 3-7A championship and averaged 6.5 kills per set. Walch also added 231 digs, 40 service aces and 28 blocks to her senior year totals. She adds a state 5A player of the year honor to her résumé.
“Nicole and Leah can both play left side or right side and have been very versatile players during their career,” Poole added. “They can hit out of any zone on the court and both have been used to carrying a heavy load full rotation for their high school and club teams. Nicole hits a very heavy, hard ball, similar to her sister. Nicole had the benefit of learning behind Elise and therefore is more mature than most players her age on the court. Nicole is graduating early and will enroll in January to Florida State.
“Leah has tremendous athleticism. From a small high school, she is the star for their volleyball, basketball and track programs in the state of Texas. Leah also has great hang time and is physically very strong for her age.”
All four members of this year’s class have the potential to earn time right away in their freshman years. Each signee composes an FSU class that joins only Texas, Stanford and Washington as the only schools to have four players in PrepVolleyball.com’s Top 53 of the 2012 senior class rankings.
While the future Seminoles will add to the program’s rise, the current squad looks to finish its quest for an ACC championship with three remaining conference matches. FSU (22-5, 16-1), which sits two matches ahead in first place, ends the regular season with road contests at Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami.