The trio has been part of their respected national team programs and they play with tremendous confidence.”
Čulo a 6-1 outside hitter, and native of Bjelovar, Croatia, has made multiple appearances in the National Championships over the course of her career. Since the 2011 season, when her team captured third place at the U14 National Championship, she has earned four first place finishes at the U18 National Championships (2012; 2014—Senior National Cup; 2015—U18 National Championship; 2015—Senior National Cup).
Individually, Čulo has garnered multiple individual awards including best junior receiver (2015), Most Valuable Player of Senior National Cup (2014), Most Valuable Player of Junior National Championship (2014) and best attacker of Regional Championship (2013).
“I want to get a higher education and also continue to play volleyball at an elite level,” said Čulo. “I picked Florida State because of the opportunities it gave me in both academics and volleyball. I also worked with a staff that has assisted me in achieving my goals from the beginning.”
Poole on the addition of Čulo: “Bozena will bring much needed ball control to our program. She is extremely experienced and will remind fans of Visnja Djurdjevic, Fatma Yildirim and Olivera Medic who were all great passers, defenders and complete all-around players. Bozena is accustomed to handling pressure as a full rotation player and has great court awareness. She is also a very accomplished beach player and being that she has played both sports this is a major plus for our program.”
Throughout Miljevic’s volleyball career the 6-3, middle blocker has been associated with winning programs. Her career began when her Vizura team captured the first place at the U16 National Championships in 2012 and continued later that year when they brought home the U16 Belgrade Regional Championship.
Her Vizura team returned to capture the U16 National Championship in 2013-14 and while competing in the U18 division, Miljevic’s Vizura team captured that National Championship as well. Both teams eventually won first place in the U16 and U18 Belgrade Regional Championships.
Miljevic’s most recent achievements came when her Vizura program won the 2015 Senior Super Cup and Senior Cup of Serbia titles. They also advanced to the semifinals of the Super League in Serbia. She is currently competing for the championship of the Super League in Serbia with her team leading 2-1 in a best of five match series.
Individually Miljevic was honored as the best middle blocker at a tournament in Belgrade (Fenix) in 2011. Three years later she was named as the best middle blocker for the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup in Milhouse, France (Partizan-Vizura). In 2015, Miljevic was recognized as the runner-up for best middle blocker in the Junior Final Four.
“Volleyball is a love of my life, but I love school as well, and in Serbia I had to choose between those two loves and I just couldn’t,” said Miljevic. “Therefore, I decided to try with a university in the United States, where students are encouraged to be good at sports as well as academics. Among the different universities that contacted me, FSU gave me the feeling that I am the right fit and together we are a winning combination.”
Poole on the addition of Miljevic: “Staša plays for an extremely successful club program and has competed at the highest level of the sport. Education is very important to her family, so she has worked to balance both opportunities. Serbia is considered one of the top volleyball countries in the world and Staša’s experience with their national team program will be a big advantage as she transitions to Division I top 15 volleyball.”
A 6-1 combination right side/middle blocker, Calkins spent her last two seasons at Santa Clara University. She made a series of notable impact performances during her sophomore season against Cal State Fullerton (nine kills, four assisted blocks, .615 attack percentage) and No. 10 BYU where she tallied five kills, four assisted blocks and one solo block.
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Calkins was named to the West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team in 2014 after posting 98 kills (1.34 kpg) and 56 total blocks (0.77 bpg). Her best individual matches came against Cal Poly (10 kills, two assisted blocks, .412 attack percentage) and No. 24 San Diego where she led Santa Clara to a 3-1 victory with nine kills, four assisted blocks and a .562 attack percentage.
“From the first conversation with Coach Poole, I had a really good feeling about Florida State,” said Calkins. “He was very clear about what kind of program he had and what they were looking for in bringing in a new player. As a transfer, I knew what I wanted in a school and going on my visit confirmed that FSU was everything I had hoped for and more. I connected right away with the girls on the team and it just seemed like a great fit. I am incredibly honored to be a part of such a great volleyball program and am excited to be a Seminole.”
Poole on the addition of Calkins: “Natasha is a very good athlete that has a great jump and dynamic movement. She has starting experience the last two years for Santa Clara team that has been to the NCAA Tournament both seasons. Natasha has played all three positions on the front row and can hit out of any zone. Since she has already been at a university the last two years, she understands the demand of balancing academics, volleyball and life.”
The Seminoles get the 2016 season underway at UCF on August 27 before competing in their first in-season tournament at Puerto Rico where they face the combination of Minnesota (Sept. 2), Texas A&M (Sept. 3) and Alabama (Sept. 3) in the Tournament at Puerto Rico.