The University of Tampa women’s volleyball program went 33-2 last year and is currently ranked No. 3 in the country. There always seems to be a talented group of girls playing under Coach Chris Catanach.
This year, the teams’ best recruit is local Marissa Lisenbee, who has already docked some crucial playing time this season.
“I wanted to play for a school that was going to win,” said Lisenbee. “I’d rather play for a great Division-II school than a mediocre Division-I school.”
“She’s a competitor, she hates to lose,” said her high school Volleyball Coach, Dexter Rogers. “She went from being someone who has a lot of potential, to being someone who started to realize some of her potential. She still has some time to grow.”
Lisenbee played on a team that won the Junior Olympic Championship this past year, and already has her eyes set on playing overseas after college.
“My high school coach helped with the Olympic Games and he was just awesome and knew so much about the game,” she said. “Ultimately, I really wanna play in Europe, overseas anywhere.”
Lisenbee, a Seminole, Florida native, is expected to get most of her playing time on the right side this year, after Eva Dupay’s departure due to graduation.
“Marissa will probably play right side or middle; she played everywhere for us,” said Rogers. “She is a great blocker at 6’2”.”
“I can play right or middle, or wherever coach needs me to play,” Lisenbee said.
“The right side is the only position we graduated so that is where she’ll be trying out for mostly,” said University of Tampa Volleyball Coach Chris Catanach. “She’s a local kid that we’ve been targeting since her sophomore year and we’re very excited to have her.She’s definitely one of our top recruits, but I don’t like to label any freshman with a ton of expectations.”
Even as a freshman, Lisenbee has high hopes for the team this year.
“Hopefully this year we win the national championship, because with the people we have coming in and the returners we definitely have the capability to,” she said. “Hopefully I get some playing time too.”
“I’ve already learned a lot from Coach Catanach and all of the other coaches and I’m looking forward to learning more from them,” Lisenbee said. “I love everyone so far, we all get along.”
Lisenbee’s best friend on the team is junior setter Kahley Patrick.
It is a dream of Lisenbee’s to play in the Olympics one day, and she loves mixing up indoor volleyball with sand.
“I love sand volleyball,” she said. “It’s a lot harder, but I love playing for fun, and I’m looking forward to playing that in the spring for a few weeks just because it’s a nice change going from indoor to beach.
Coach Rogers only had one cautious thought on Lisenbee, and it can sometimes be considered a great attribute.
“She can be a bit of a perfectionist sometimes, which can be dangerous,” Rogers said. “There are going to be times when things aren’t going to be going great, but you just have to keep battling.”
“Marissa will decide how far she goes,” said Rogers. “If she keeps working as hard as she has been in the last couple years, I think she will play past college. She will get out exactly what she puts in.”
John Hilsenroth Jr. can be reached at email@example.com