Coach Trifonov beams optimism

The women’s volleyball team will have its first conference game this Friday against its rival Bethune-Cookman College. Head coach Tanio “Tony” Trifonov sat down with The Famuan for a discussion about this game as well as the rest of the season .

Question: How do you feel about the 2002 season?Answer: We’re a young team; in some games we’re up and in others we’re down. We still have a lot of improvement to do, but they’re putting in the effort that we require.

Q: The team has never lost to Bethune-Cookman College before. How do you feel going into Friday’s game?A: Well, it’s our first conference game and it’s a big rivalry. When you talk about rivalries, records pretty much go out the window. I know their record is not as good, and I don’t think they have as much talent as us, but we need to play our game and not underestimate them.

Q: Last year the team lost a few seniors, but you did recruit some quality freshmen. How are they doing? A: It’s hard to replace the loss of two starters, but they’re adjusting well and contributing as expected.

Q: Who are your team captains for this year?A: Seniors Fiorella Aita Junek and Anisha Nicholson.

Q: What do you think about the strength of your schedule? Are there many tough competitors?A: We would have liked it to be a little bit stronger. Once we get to our conference match up, it’s not as strong as the beginning of the season, but we still have some good teams remaining like Virginia and Florida State, and Georgia Tech twice at the end of the season. Hopefully we’ll be ready to play in the post season.

Q: What games are you concentrating on right now?A: We have a South Florida team that beat a couple of top 25 teams this weekend. We also have Jacksonville and Virginia. Many of the non-conference teams are always challenging and we try to schedule teams that will help us improve our ratings and game.

Q: Last year you made it to the first round of the NCAA tourney, do you foresee going farther this year or is it too early to tell?A: Well, it all depends on a whole lot of things. First we have to get there and win the conference tournament. We have to do well in the rest of our non-conference schedule. Also, we’re going to have a chance to be seeded better.

Q: Do you have any defensive specialists on the team?A: Well, we do have Anisha Nicholson who’s been our libero for the past few matches. Most of the hitters do play all the way around.

Q: Have you been recruiting any for next year?A: It’s kind of early and late. We have a signing period in November but I don’t think we’re going to sign anyone now. It’s an ongoing thing, a 365-day of the year thing, you’re always looking forward to the next year.

Dominique Drake can be reached at