Cougar Volleyball Celebrates Fifteen Years with Fredrick
Aug. 14, 2003
Washington State Head Coach Cindy Fredrick begins her 15th year at the helm of the very successful Cougar volleyball program. During her 14 seasons at WSU, Fredrick has become the most successful volleyball coach and the most successful coach of any woman's sport in school history.
Fredrick's teams have competed in the NCAA Championship Tournament nine times, advancing to the second round six times, the Sweet Sixteen three times, and the Elite Eight twice, including last year's squad. She has accumulated a 269-172 (.610) record in her 14 seasons on the Palouse with seven 20-plus win seasons.
In addition to the outstanding players Fredrick has recruited to the 15 Cougar teams, she surrounds herself with a great staff. Assistant coaches include her husband, Dr. Mashallah Farokhmanesh (14 years), and former Cougar standout, Jennifer Stinson Greeny (three years). And this season, three-time All-Pac-10 first team player, LaToya Harris, will serve as an undergraduate assistant coach working with the defensive specialists.
The 2003 season will be a rebuilding year for Fredrick and the Cougs. With only the freshman setter returning from the 2003 team which went 24-8 and ended the year ranked 7th, WSU will have a new look on the Bohler Gym court.
'Whenever you graduate five seniors you have some concerns about the next season,' Fredrick said. 'The up side of that situation is that we have a very talented group of young people joining the program. While we'll be missing the experience of those seniors, sometimes being young means you don't let the facts get in the way of your imagination and your dreams. We have a lot of quality players and quality people.'
The returning veterans with substantial playing experience are senior outside hitter Zanda Bautre and sophomore setter Brenn Larson. Three redshirt freshmen join a junior and two sophomores as letterwinners returning from the 2002 season. The Cougar newcomers include three outstanding players from the Northwest, a Canadian Junior National player, and the Nevada Player of the Year.
Zanda Bautre enters her senior season ready to play after a knee injury cut short her junior year but her recovery was much faster than anticipated. After a semi-restful spring, she should be able to come back in full force. Fredrick looks for Bautre, a 5-9 outside hitter, to be the stabilizer on squad this year and demonstrate good senior leadership.
'Its great to have Zanda back,' Fredrick said. 'I think Zanda was so disappointed she missed out on last year. She's going to have to put numbers up for us, but she has the ability to do that. As long as her knee is stable the rest of the season, she should be a major cog in the team on the court this year.'
Brenn Larson, the 5-11 setter, goes from being the new kid on the court to a role as the seasoned sophomore surrounded by a lot of young players. Larson earned Pac-10 All-Freshman first team honors after her highly successful transition from high school to one of the top-ranked teams in NCAA Division I. Fredrick sees Larson's role as completely different this year.
'Last year Brenn was the youngster trying to make sure that the five seniors had a great year and I give her tremendous credit for doing just that,' Fredrick said. 'This year she will have to turn it around a little bit and elevate everybody else's game. I think she has the ability to do that. As a sophomore captain, she's going to have tremendous responsibility and she's going to have to show great leadership. I think she has the emotional and physical talent to accomplish that.'
Redshirt freshman Kristen Carlson, a 6-2 outside hitter, is ready and eager to play this year and Fredrick expects her to be an impact player. Her height and left-handed hitting and blocking will change the look of the right side dominated by LaToya Harris in previous years.
'Kristen has natural ability that even she is not aware of at this point,' Fredrick said. 'She's hungry to play and really wants Pac-10 level. We have the possibility of having someone come in with the dynamics of LaToya as a hitter and a little better blocking. If she can hit like LaToya, we're going to be absolutely ecstatic. Kristen is going to be a force, there is not doubt that.'
Another redshirt freshman looking to make the starting lineup is Jen Barcus, a 6-1 middle blocker with a knack for the big block. Barcus suffered with what some thought might be career-ending back pain last year. She spent the majority of her practice time getting treatment and worked diligently at her rehabilitation.
'We're just so glad that Jen Barcus has four years to play,' Fredrick said. 'She is really an enjoyable player to coach and one of the best pure blockers I've ever seen. She reminds me of Jennifer Stinson (WSU assistant coach). She has great hands, reads well, gets over the net, penetrates; she does all the things you ask her to do and looks very unassuming about it. I think she'll pull in a lot of players who don't think she's going to be that good. She doesn't have that in your face attitude at all.'
The lone junior with experience is defensive specialist/libero Alison Billingsley. Last season she subbed in at the end of games and came up with great serves. At 5-3, she is the most diminutive player on the WSU team but is highly respected by the coaches and her teammates for her tremendous leadership skills, fantastic academic record and calm emotional abilities.
'Alison wants this libero position and she knows she's going to have a lot of competition but she's willing to work real hard to get it,' Fredrick said. 'She's come a long ways. As a person and as an athlete, she's an absolute pleasure to have on the team.'
Branch, a 5-8 outside hitter, played sparingly last year until mid-season knee surgery placed her on the sidelines. Considered athletically gifted by the coaching staff, Branch brings good skills and a good vertical jump to the Cougars.
'LaQuï¿½'s not a great practice player but put her in a game and the natural instincts take over,' Fredrick said. 'She has the ability but she has to get more confident and believe in herself. If she works hard and starts believing in her talent, she could be a very good player for us.'
Camp, at 5-4, is frequently compared to Billingsley and are almost twins on the court; two mini-me's in the back row. Camp is also an outstanding student who overcame a serious foot injury to walk-on the Cougar team.
'I give Megan a lot of credit because I know it is painful for her but she grew up playing volleyball and any chance she gets on that court she relishes it,' Fredrick said. 'She is a tough and strong kid. Another option for us in the back row when we need it.'
Greene, a 5-11 outside hitter, is playing catch up on the fundamental skills not acquired from her small high school and limited club experience. The daughter of WSU assistant football coach and former Cougar and NFL player Ken Greene, Melanie is athletically very talented.
'Melanie has to get those fundamentals down and get some consistency,' Fredrick said. 'She has a powerful jump serve but needs work with passing and defense, and her arm swing. When we get those things down she's going to be a real contributor to the team.'
Stacey Holbrook is the only junior college transfer among the ten newcomers to the Cougar team. Holbrook is a 5-5 libero who comes from College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif., and brings two years of playing experience to the back row position. Fredrick sites her good ball control and knowledge of the position as attributes for this crucial position.
'We're going to have a lot of strong back row players competing for that spot,' Fredrick said. The libero has changed the whole game for smaller players.'
Some of the freshmen in the WSU recruiting class are much taller than the players on the Cougars roster in the past. Leading that charge is Jennifer Todd, a 6-3 middle blocker from Henderson, Nev., who was the Nevada Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year.
'Jennifer is very possibly one of the best middle hitters we've ever recruited,' Fredrick said. 'Physically, she is just so gifted. I think she has potential to be like a Sarah Silvernail (WSU All-American). She has a very laid back, quiet and gentle personality but she can hit the heck out of the ball. We feel that she has potential to be one of the best middles we've ever had.'
Liz Spear is also a 6-3 middle blocker from Surrey, British Columbia, who brings the global experience of playing on the Canadian Junior National Team. She is an aggressive player who loves to hit the 'one' and the Cougar staff is excited to teach her to hit the slide.
'Liz's potential is huge and she likes to hit the ball hard,' Fredrick said. 'It will be different for Brenn to have hitters who are that tall in the middle and that can leap that high. She will be working with a lot taller reach than she has in the past. I think it will speed things up.'
Kelly Rosin is a 6-1 outside hitter from Springfield, Ore., who Fredrick and Farokhmanesh have watched for a long time. A member of the Webfoot Juniors Club team, coached by former Oregon head coach Cathy Nelson, Rosin brings a strong physical presence with a great volleyball physique. Described by Fredrick as very laid back and not an in-your-face, she plays both right and left sides and has good passing skills.
Also joining the Cougars from Oregon is Jessie Camp, a 6-1 outside hitter from Gresham who came to WSU through her club coach, former player Jenny Herndon. Camp is a very physical player who hits the ball hard and can play both right and left sides. Known as a good blocker and good defensive player, Camp likes to play hard.
'Jessie holds nothing back. She loves to hit the line, and get up and block,' Fredrick said. 'She has a real aversion to losing and she'll tell you that most people are scared to death of her on the court. Off the court, she's just a nice as can be. I like her whole attitude. She's going to be a great addition.'
McKenzie Burgess is a 6-0 middle blocker/outside hitter from Benton City, Wash. A physically strong athlete, Burgess has been honored as one of the best track, basketball and volleyball players in the state.
'I really like getting a player like McKenzie who a lot of schools might overlook her because she is from a small school,' Fredrick said. 'Overall, she a very talented athlete who will only get better because her experience is very limited. She is the kind of player Farokh and I have been known for: we take a kid from a small school and turn them into somebody like a Jennifer Stinson Greeny. They have room to grow because they are not anywhere near their peak.'
April Lott is a 6-0 middle blocker from Kennewick, Wash., who will walk on and will provide depth to the squad.
Sheila Gluzer is a 5-5 back row specialist from Oak Park, Calif., who has also been a hitter but will push for the libero position. Gluzer played with Larson in high school and was recommended by Brenn's dad because of her extreme competitive nature and good ball control.
Two freshmen setters will wear crimson uniforms this fall. Ashley Bristol, is 5-9 and from Winnemucca, Nev., and played for Gary Hankoff, father of former Cougar outstanding outside hitter Adrian Hankoff. Kali Richards is 5-7 and played for Buzzie Welch at Lewis & Clark High in Spokane, Wash.
'We have not had back-up setters for a long time and we're really excited to have these two,' Fredrick said. 'We can run so many more practice courts now and it is a little more realistic and quicker. It will be good for Brenn with some competition and the ability to work with other setters. It excites me how our players' dads have gotten involved in the program and how our parents are bringing us good kids.'
As for the WSU 2003 schedule, the Cougs will take on six teams from the 2002 NCAA Championship Tournament in addition to many up and coming squads.
'It will be a very tough pre-season, probably the toughest one we've had,' Fredrick said. 'Youth can make up for a lot of things and experience isn't everything. I think these kids will be ready for the Pac-10.'