Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stranger in a Strange Land

Around the country, many coaches will redshirt a freshman to let them adjust to the college lifestyle (going to class, learning the college game, let them mature socially, academically and/or physically). From time to time, a freshman comes along that a coach decides needs to be on the floor to help the team right away.

The Charlotte volleyball program has a pair of freshmen that play significant time on the floor, Jenna Litoborski and Bianca Rouse. Litoborski is from Lemont, Illinois, while Rouse hails from Columbia, S.C. Litoborski leads Charlotte with 141 kills (2.66 per set), while Rouse is third with 109 kills (2.32 per set).

"They bring a lot of spunk to the team," said setter Sheri Davis. "This team is certainly more talented on the floor with those two, who have amazing jumping ability."

"Jenna is hard to rattle and brings a very even and consistent demeanor, which says a lot for a freshman," said assistant coach Jay "Bubba" Correll.

"Bianca has a lot of untapped potential and is amazingly athletic. She is always smiling and fun to be around."

Though they come from different backgrounds, these two meshed well quickly and were embraced by teammates on the floor and off.

"We're all really close," said Litoborski.

"I love our freshmen. We all get along well and spend time together on and off the court. We've learned a lot about each other and met each other's parents. It's such a family atmosphere here."

The transition from high school to college can be tough, no matter what level of athleticism a player brings to the table. With Litoborski so far from home (nearly 800 miles by car), she looked to her teammates for assistance in the transition, and playing volleyball together made that simpler.

"It was hard being far from home the first week or so, but we all support each other, which makes it easier. The freedom of being a college student is great, but you have to be good with time management at college," said Litoborski.

On the floor, Litoborski said the transition was easier though she did notice right away the difference in the college game from high school.

"College volleyball is a lot more fun because of the intensity and because the play is so much faster than the high school game."

For her effort so far this season, Litoborski has been named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week twice in the first four weeks of the season. She has earned an All-Tournament team berth twice this year (High Point, Coastal Carolina).

Charlotte begins Atlantic 10 Conference play in Philadelphia on Friday at 7 p.m. versus Temple, with the follow-up A-10 match at La Salle on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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