TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Rising redshirt freshman middle blocker Sarah Burrington will have a chance to earn a spot on the USA Women’s Volleyball Junior National Team in June when she goes through tryouts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Florida State’s Burrington is one of 13 indoor players selected for an opportunity to play in the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U-20 World Championship being held June 21-30 in the cities of Brno and Prostejov, Czech Republic. The Ruskin, Fla. native looks to be part of a final roster that will be narrowed down to 12 players heading into the World Championship.
“We are so proud of Sarah and the opportunity she has to not only represent herself with the USA National Team, but to represent Florida State Volleyball,” head coach Chris Poole said. “This is a big deal and a tremendous honor. The other players on this team are outstanding and this learning experience through June will really help Sarah as she prepares for next fall.”
The United States Women’s Junior Training Team will go through tryouts in Lake Placid beginning Wednesday, June 5. The remaining 12 will leave to face worldwide competition on June 12 to help acclimate with the time change overseas.
The team is made up of players born in 1994 or 1995, selected through High Performance tryouts across the country. Burrington is a standout product from Riverview High School who came to Florida State rated the 15th-best player in the 2012 Prepvolleyball.com senior class rankings.
Burrington was a prestigious first-team selection to the Under Armour Girls High School All-America squad, and was an ESPNHS Second-Team All-American prior to her arrival at Florida State. As a collegiate freshman in 2013, Burrington redshirted in preparation for her remaining four years.
With the departure of American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American Sareea Freeman following last season, Burrington has an opportunity to fine-tune her game even more and continue growing as a defensive presence at the front of the net.
“We need her to step up this season as she prepares to compete in the position that Sareea has left vacant,” Poole added. “Sarah is an unusual player and I say that with a lot of respect. Most players that are 6-5 will be a step slower and less agile. Sarah moves on the court as if she were 6-1, but instead has the extra reach. We are expecting big things from her in the future and this summer will be a great experience for her to compete with and against the best in the world.”
“I made the decision to redshirt because I knew how big of a deal it would be playing at Florida State for the first time,” Burrington said. “Now that I have a handle on what it’s like away from home, what it’s like to juggle practice and classes, I can really focus on playing the best I possibly can for the team. It’s really going to have a significant impact on my upcoming season.”
Competing for a spot on the junior national team are some of the nation’s most highly-skilled student-athletes in Burrington’s age range. They include outside hitters Jordan Burgess (Tampa, Fla.), Kierra Holst (Coppell, Texas), Brittany Howard (Los Altos, Calif.) and Andie Malloy (Allen, Texas), middle blockers Chanell Clark-Bibbs (Houston), Canace Finley (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Merete Lutz (Houston), setter Nicole Edelman (Boulder, Colo.) and libero Caitlin Nolan (Southlake, Texas).
One of the aforementioned athletes in Stanford’s Jordan Burgess was teammates with Burrington for four years on the Tampa Bay Juniors. Together, Burrington and Burgess were part of a team in 2012 that won the Girl’s Junior National Volleyball Championship.
“I’m definitely excited to play with such high-level athletes,” Burrington said of her tryout. “I’m really looking forward to learning from them and contributing to the tryouts. I’m excited to see these girls play. I’ve played with Jordan before and I’ve competed against a lot of these girls, so I’m real excited to begin playing with them so closely.”
The United States joins 19 other countries playing in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U-20 World Championship, which occurs every two years. USA is in pool C alongside Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Bulgaria.
In the most recent championship at Peru in 2011, the United States finished fourth while Italy took the top spot. This year’s competition features a revised format having been expanded from 16 to 20 teams comprising the hosts and 19 qualifiers. The tournament provides a platform for the next generation of stars to showcase their skills on the international stage and potentially take the big step into the senior ranks.