The 2018 FAMU Women’s Volleyball season opens Friday in Miami, as the Rattler Women will compete in the Florida International University (FIU) Volleyball Invitational at Panther Arena.
FAMU will begin the 2018 campaign under new leadership, after the university appointed veteran volleyball coach and teacher, Gokhan Yilmaz, to take the reins of the program this past spring.
Yilmaz, whose resume includes a head coaching stint at UNC Charlotte, and a lengthy run as Associate Head Coach at cross town Florida State, along with years of experience working at the youth level as a coach and instructor in volleyball.
The new coach will have several returning veterans to work with in 2018, and a group of talented newcomers that hopefully will offset the loss of two-time All-MEAC outside hitter Nicole Abreu, and one of the league’s top rookies from 2017, middle blocker Candelaria Herrera.
Heading the list of returning veterans for FAMU will be a pair of 2018 preseason All-MEAC selections, senior libero Valentina Carrasco (Lima, Peru) and junior outside hitter Maria Yvett Garcia (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) were were named to the 2018 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preseason All-Star Volleyball team announced on Friday, August 10.
@ Carrasco, who was a member of the Peruvian 18-and Under National team in in 2015, played all 99 sets for FAMU in 2017, leading the club with 446 total digs, good for a 4.51 per set average.
@ Garcia, who was a member of the bronze medal winning Dominican Republic Under 21 National team which played in the 2015 World Championships, led the club with 301 kills, good for a 3.04 per set average.
She also led FAMU in service aces (24), finished third in digs (243), while finishing with 37 total blocks a year ago.
Also returning are Nair Canessa, a 6-1 senior middle (Lima, Peru); 5-10 graduate outside hitter Pamela Soriano (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic); the Dimitrova twins, 6-2 junior outside Radka, and 6-1 junior setter Elena (Sofia, Bulgaria); along with 5-10 redshirt sophomore outside hitter Alexis Gosha (Apopka, Fla.), who sat out last season due to injury.
Yilmaz welcomes a quartet of new faces to the FAMU fold this fall, headed by a pair of sophomore transfers, 5-6 libero Jessa Long (Dixon, Ill.) who transferred from Marshall University, and 6-0 middle/outside Karina Pressoir (Orlando, Fla.), who came in from Johnson C. Smith University.
Rounding out the Fab Four are a pair of freshmen, 5-8 outside hitter Kalen Blathers from Tallahassee’s Rickards High School, and Jatia Littles, a 6-1 middle blocker from Gainesville (Fla.) High School.
THE FIU TOURNEY SLATE
FAMU opens the weekend Friday at 2:00 p.m. against Tennessee State, followed by a 6:00 p.m. bout against host FIU.
Saturday, FAMU closes out the first weekend with a 12 noon duel against Stetson (Fla.) University.