June 20, 2013
By Theresa Kurtz
By Theresa Kurtz
FRESNO, Calif. - For senior Holly Franks volleyball was a filler sport. It was something to do when she wasn't playing basketball, her favorite sport. It wasn't until halfway through high school that she realized volleyball was her passion and the sport she wanted to play in college.
The 6-2 right side hitter was recruited by several schools out of high school. Franks made the decision to move away from her home in Tollhouse, Calif. and play for the Cal Poly. She played for three and half seasons for the Mustangs.
"We recruited Holly out of high school and she wanted to get away and play for a team, which at the time was ranked better nationally," said head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell. "To get her back, now that we are in good position to do something special with this season, is great. She is a big recruit, she's talented, she's super physical and she really appreciates what she has here."
Franks decided after her time as a Mustang, she wanted to find a better fit and play somewhere closer to home for her final season of collegiate volleyball.
Luckily for the Bulldogs, home is only 29 miles from the Fresno State campus. Head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell was excited to add Franks to the roster for the 2013 season. There were many reasons that attracted her to the Bulldog program, but the main reason was how much support the program gets from the community.
"The community supports athletics a lot and I really liked that," Franks said. "It's totally different here from what I'm used to and it's really awesome how much everyone supports athletics here. I like how big it is here and the diversity."
Franks enrolled in Fresno State for the 2013 spring semester. She began working out with the team and taking classes. The transition was smooth for Franks and the Bulldogs welcomed her with open arms.
"She seamlessly came into the program," Netherby-Sewell said of Franks transition. "It's like she has been one of us forever. She's a big lefty right side, who is super physical. We taught her to have a lot more range and do a lot more with what she has. She became one of our top hitters and I think this is going to be a great senior year for her. I am so happy to have her."
Franks instantly clicked with `Dogs and the senior class. She fit right in during spring work outs and began preparation with the Bulldogs for the 2013 season.
"Spring practice was very different from what I'm used to, but I liked it a lot," Franks said. "I learned a lot more in the past couple months and I felt like I got better as an athlete and a leader. I have to give thanks to coach for that. She really showed me a lot and taught me a lot. Not just on the volleyball court, but off of it too."
She previously played against fellow senior Lauren Albertson growing up. The two quickly put the past behind them and Albertson took Franks under her wings teaching her the Bulldog way.
"Coming in to the program, I knew Lauren Albertson," said Franks. "We competed against each other in high school and club volleyball. We weren't very friendly back then, but Lauren was the first person to talk to me. She got my number from the coaches and was so welcoming. She took me on tours and under her wing."
It has been an unconventional transition for the fifth year senior, who redshirted during the 2011 season, as she transferred right before her final season. Franks also made the transition in the middle of the school year.
"It's a different transition than coming in at the beginning of the season or as a freshman," Franks said of joining the team in the middle of the school year. "The whole team had open arms and was so happy to have me. It was the same with the coaching staff. Everyone helped me and showed me around. Everyone was so willing to teach me and really nice to feel like I had that support. I felt like I just walked into a new family."
The Bulldogs are coming off a fourth place Mountain West finish in 2012 and are ready to do something special in 2013. Franks believes that the senior class brings an advantage to the `Dogs and will guide the team to their goals of winning the conference.
"All of us have the mindset of winning," Franks added about the upcoming season. "We are headstrong about winning and that's great. I think that having five seniors is a definite advantage because we are all leaders and want the same thing for the program. All five of us seniors are different and lead in different ways, which is good for our team. It opens up the door to better communication and trust."
Franks believes the other big advantage the Bulldogs have heading into the 2013 season is their experience.
"We have experience, three of our seniors are fifth year seniors and that is a big advantage for us," said Franks. "We know how the program works, we know how to win in the collegiate atmosphere, we know what it's like to be a redshirt and not play. We've been able to watch and study the game from the bench, but we also know what it's like to be a starter."
Franks is most excited about playing in the Save Mart Center for the first time and getting to wear a Bulldog jersey.
"I remember when the Save Mart Center was being built and when it wasn't even here," Franks recollects. "I am getting chills just thinking about playing there. Putting my jersey on for pictures was an awesome feeling. Having the Fresno State name on my back gives me confidence and tickles me to death to be able to play for the Bulldogs and in the Save Mart Center. Not every student-athlete gets to experience this and I am so excited and lucky to be a Bulldog."
Franks will get the chance to wear that jersey for the first time on Aug. 30 against Rice in the Save Mart Center in front of her friends and family.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" -- Catch the action on ESPN 790 AM The Deuce, home Bulldog volleyball. Stay connected with the Bulldogs on Facebook (fresnostateathletics) and Twitter (@FSAthletics).
|Email this article||Printer-friendly format|