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Meet the Captains - Volleyball

By Adam Levine

Sports Editor

Dylan Pichnarcik / THE GATEPOST

Hailey Sanders

Hailey Sanders, 22, is a middle hitter for the FSU volleyball team and a member of the Class of 2024.


She majors in child and family studies with a minor in sociology.


Sanders said she doesn't want to teach, but still wants to work in the field of child development after graduating.


She said she started playing volleyball during her freshman year at Franklin High School in Franklin.


Sanders said she danced growing up but “wasn’t too good at it.”


She said, “I wanted to get into sports more.”


Sanders said she chose FSU because of the proximity to her hometown and the “dynamic of the team and coach, especially.”


She said she commutes to campus. “I love it.


“It's nice to get off campus and bring the girls over to our houses too,” Sanders added.


She said she reached out to Head Coach Richard Casali during recruitment.


“I originally got recruited for basketball and then I wanted to play both sports,” Sanders said. “I ended up just sticking with volleyball because I loved it.”


She said her favorite part of FSU is the community and everyone is “in touch” with each other.


“Everyone looks out for each other,” Sanders added.


She said growing up her favorite sport to watch was basketball because her grandfather was a huge fan.


Sanders said her favorite team to watch is the Connecticut Suns of the Women’s National Basketball Association.


She said her favorite part of the FSU volleyball team is their connection.


“This is a really strong team this year. I really appreciate how genuine they are,” Sanders said.

Dylan Pichnarcik / THE GATEPOST

Anna Szymanski

Anna Szymanski, Class of ’23, 22, is an outside hitter for the FSU volleyball team.


Szymanski finished undergrad with a degree in elementary education and is now in graduate school for education technology.


She said, “It's focusing on how to use technology in the classroom to support students.”


Szymanski said both of her parents are high school teachers, but she loves working with kids and wants to be an elementary school teacher.


She said her parents “think I’m a little bit crazy for wanting to work with kids.”


Szymanski said she started playing volleyball in eighth grade because her older sister, Erin, played in high school and “I wanted to be just like her.”


Szymanski grew up in Harwinton, Connecticut, and said she played volleyball all four years of her time at Lewis S. Mills High School.


She said Head Coach Richard Casali recruited her during her junior year of high school after the club team she played for faced Casali’s club team.


“I think we beat them. I'm pretty sure we did. I think we actually kind of smoked them,” Szymanski said.


She said Casali reached out to her the following weekend.


“Once I toured here, I really liked it,” Szymanski said.


She said volleyball is a “dynamic” sport and it takes a strong bond between the team to succeed.


“I think we just always have built that bond and it's really really good and strong,” Szymanski said. “It makes it fun to play together.”


Szymanski said she is inspired by Matt Anderson, a right hitter on the men’s U.S. national volleyball team.


Szymanski said her favorite part of FSU other than volleyball is the academics.


“I've had a really really good experience with all my professors here - just how much they care about students and their well being and finding success in their academics,” she said.


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