TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After successful and memorable careers – which included 99 victories, four NCAA tournament appearances, two runs to NCAA Regional Semifinals and one postseason victory over the Florida Gators – three members of Florida State volleyball’s senior class of 2017 are preparing to take the international stage.
Milica Kubura (2014-17), Cecilie Woie (2014-17) and Natasha Calkins (2016-17) are all using their experiences at FSU to springboard into opportunities with their respective national teams.
Kubura, a two-time AVCA All-America honorable mention selection, is training as a right-side attacker with Serbia, Woie is working with her native Norway and Calkins recently learned that she’d earned a spot on the Canadian National Senior B Team.
“I’m so proud of ‘Nat,’ ‘Mili’ and ‘Cec’ and the way they are representing Florida State volleyball,” said FSU coach Chris Poole, who last fall completed his 11th season in Tallahassee. “For all three of our 2017 seniors to now be training with their national team is an amazing opportunity.
“They have been selected from the best in their country and they continue to play at a high level.”
And all three credited their time as Seminoles with helping them reach those heights.
Kubura, perhaps the most decorated of the bunch, said she had “every single resource” she needed to chase her goals on the court and in the classroom.
And while the three-time All-ACC selection plans to one day pursue a career as an actuary, she’s also happy to extend her volleyball career as much as possible, too.
“Coming to FSU was the best decision I ever made,” said Kubura, a native of Belgrade, Serbia. “At FSU, I had every single resource I could possibly need to reach my fullest potential as a person, player and student.
“After graduation, I was ready for any path I wanted to take, whether that was starting my actuarial career or pursuing a national team or professional volleyball career.”
Woie told a similar story.
One of the pillars of the Seminoles’ defense, Woie finished her Florida State career with 1,405 digs – good for third-most in the school’s rally-scoring history.
Woie, from Tromso, Norway, is looking to become one of 12 players chosen to compete in European Qualifying matches in January.
“I feel like playing at FSU and competing against some of the best teams in U.S. has definitely helped me prepare for opportunities like this,” she said. “During my time in the States, I had great coaches, teammates and facilities that allowed me to train hard and efficient in order to improve my game.
“In a sport like volleyball, you are very dependent on good teammates and coaches in order to succeed, and fortunately I was enrolled in a program that had both. I had teammates that played at a very high level, successful coaches with lots of experience, in addition to amazing facilities that allowed me to train as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. You won’t find that everywhere.”
Calkins, meanwhile, took a slightly different road to Florida State and her country’s national team.
The Calgary, Alberta, native spent two years at Santa Clara University before heading east to Florida State for her junior and senior seasons. She made an instant impact with 125 kills and 57 blocks in her first year in Tallahassee, then went on to post a team-high 886 total attacks.
“There are so many ways that being a part of the program allowed me to grow as a player and get to where I am now,” Calkins said. “I think the level of competition we had against the teams we played, as well as the competitiveness of our practices, really allowed me to grow as a player and be prepared to play at this next level. …
“Another thing I took away from the program was being able to play in really high-pressure situations, with a large crowd and experiencing the energy of many of the intense matches we had. I will never forget the Florida games, the Miami games, playing at Baylor, and being able to make a run in the (NCAA) tournament to the Sweet 16.”