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Q&A With Head Coach Nicole Lantagne

Q&A With Head Coach Nicole Lantagne

Nov. 13, 2000

Coral Gables, Fla. (www.hurricanesports.com) – What do you see in the near future for the University of Miami women’s volleyball program?
I see the women’s volleyball program growing rapidly each year. I think it could become a great program nationwide. We will definitely have to take the steps along the way, but we are really excited to get started. I think we have a good foundation for where to start.

What teams will Miami be playing in its first season in the fall of 2001?
The first season we will play a more regional schedule of teams from in or around Florida. We won’t be travelling too far away in year one, but play around the state. In year two, we will join the BIG EAST and play a much more diverse schedule.

How is women’s volleyball in the BIG EAST?
The BIG EAST is a pretty strong conference in women’s volleyball, especially at the top. Notre Dame definitely highlights the league and is the annual front-runner year in and year out. This season, Rutgers, St. John’s, Pittsburgh and UConn have shown improvement and are fighting it out in the standings.

What is your time frame in hiring your assistant coaching staff?
I am looking to hire my first assistant coach later this fall or in early spring, around January or February. We will probably add another coach just before the season.

How many players are you going to bring in during the early signing period?
We have signed three players to the first women’s volleyball team. The three players are Ashley Youngs (Atlantis, FL/Lake Worth Christian), Sandra Totten (Thermal, CA/LaQuinta) and Malorey James (Tucson, AZ/Salpointe).

Ashley brings incredible quickness and speed to our program. She is a very determined and excellent athlete. She has experience playing all positions that will give us many options in our line-up. Ashley’s superior foot speed will enable her to become both a primary passer and excellent attacker for the Miami volleyball program.

Sandra is a great athlete who is picking up the sport very quickly. She moves effortlessly on the court and is becoming a very effective and strong middle blocker. Sandra is a very good passer and with her excellent all-around skills, will come in and make an impact immediately.

Mallorey brings experience and versatility to the Miami volleyball program. She has played almost every position on the court that has helped in her outstanding ball control and court sense. Her leadership and understanding of the game will help in her development as a top setter.

What type of experiences do you bring to the Miami women’s volleyball program?
I have a broad background in volleyball. I have a lot of experience, working with three different coaching staffs at various levels. I bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the sport. I am determined to see the sport grow in the region. I think I have a strong sense of the game. My overall experiences as a player and a coach will assist me in building this program.

What type of team did you have at the University of Maryland when you played?
Our teams at Maryland, when I played, were more defensive oriented. We may have been smaller than most of our opponents, who sometimes overlooked us, but we were able to play the spoiler role. That is why I am a strong believer in having a strong defense. You don’t have to be the biggest if you are athletic and are able to keep the ball off the floor. At Texas A&M as an assistant, we were smaller, but much more athletic. We were able to beat some of the bigger teams in the Big XII Conference with our athleticism. This helped me to mold my defensive mind set even further.

What brought you to Miami?
I came to Miami for the strong athletic department and excellent school. The combination of the academics and athletics at Miami was what I thought to be the perfect growing place for women’s volleyball. Student-athletes will now start to consider the University of Miami.

What type of player are you looking for to make up the inaugural team?
I am looking for well-rounded players who have the all-around skills. I am going to depend on young players from the start of the season. I want them to be able to go in and play all six rotations. Not only are these players going to be called upon to attack and block at the net, they are also going to have to pass and play defense. There are definitely players out there that fill this mold.

How are the Dade/Broward/Palm Beach regions for recruiting?
This area is growing very rapidly in the sport of volleyball. Each year, more clubs seem to be popping up. It is getting stronger. It has the potential to be a very strong region soon.