Throughout the 2018 beach season, former All-ACC honoree Taylor Fricano and a few other fifth-year players heading from the gym to the beach will walk through their transitions to the beach game in VolleyMob’s My Journey to the Beach series.
Fricano, who played indoor at Wisconsin and North Carolina, will make her beach debut as a member of the Missouri State team. The Paletine, Illinois, native redshirted her true freshman season and played in just six matches the following year with the Badgers.
After transferring to UNC, the Palatine, Illinois, native notched 413 kills, 305 blocks, 22 aces and 88 digs in three years at North Carolina. Fricano, who played middle blocker, outside hitter and opposite as a collegian, wrapped her Tar Heel career ranked 11th in block assists (284) and 12th in blocks per set (1.05). She also set the UNC season block assists record as a redshirt junior en route to All-ACC second team honors as the Tar Heels advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
In her second entry, Fricano talks about her new partner and what it means to be the No. 1 pair for the Bears, and looks ahead to opening day on Friday.
It is one day before our first competition and I am feeling like a freshman all over again. We head to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the Cornhuskers on Friday. They’re the indoor national champions, just now in the sand. I’m nervous, excited, worried, anxious, but pumped and ready to rock all at the same time.
This past week has been a rollercoaster. My partner (Veronica Snelling) and I were told that we’re the #1 pair of our program. The oldest and the youngest girls on the team somehow connect the best, I think that’s pretty funny.
It is such an honor to be that #1 pair that is supposed to represent your program to the highest mark, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a ton of pressure. On Sunday, we played in a mock-scrimmage and Veronica and I were doing things we had never done before. Communication was not sharp, I was setting her terribly, she was swinging out or in the net, I was missing at least 3 serves a game… just awful for a pair who has been so consistent all January and February.
As Sunday went on, we got better. Slowly but surely we started to find ourselves again. Monday was even better than Sunday, and Tuesday better than Monday, and Wednesday we we’re finally in our groove. After Wednesday we talked and agreed that it was good to struggle on Sunday, and even better to do great on Wednesday, so that we go into Nebraska feeling confident.
We’re still not where we need to be, but no athlete ever is until they’re on top. And even those that are on the top are never satisfied. If they could ever be satisfied, they would have never ended up on the top. Elite athletes are always hungry for more.
Overall, I’m jacked for our first match. Ready to play a different team on the other side of the net. It’s the first match of the first beach volleyball team at Missouri State University! You’re not going to want to miss it!