FARKAS BREAKS OUT WITH ‘FRESH’ FASHION

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Former VCU Volleyball standout Anett Farkas is trying to crack into the world of fashion with FRSHSqueezed.

Former VCU Volleyball standout Anett Farkas is trying to crack into the world of fashion with FRSHSqueezed.com.

RICHMOND, Va. – While senioritis crept in on her peers, Anett Farkas chose to finish her college career with style.

Farkas, a three-year volleyball standout for VCU, graduated Saturday with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, but not before she got a head start on her career. In January, Farkas and friend Carlos Funn, a professional photographer, founded the fashion blog FRSHSqueezed.com. Farkas writes and edits the blog, while Funn’s photography gives the site a refined visual edge.

When the curtain fell on Farkas’ volleyball career in November, she looked to occupy her time with new projects. When she returned from winter break this year, she and Funn launched FRSHSqueezed.

“The blog is a really good place to channel my energies,” Farkas, who calls her personal style sort of an American-European fusion, says. “I didn’t think it would be this much work, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Online, Farkas models some of her favorite styles, provides fashion tips and reports on local fashion fare. She does so while appealing to more than just a Richmond audience. A native of Budapest, Hungary, the site is written in both English and Hungarian, which Farkas hopes will invite readers from her native country.

“I thought it would be a good idea because I didn’t want the Hungarian aspect to be lost,” Farkas, 21, said. “I’m actually very excited that I’m building my Hungarian followers, and I’ve had quite a few likes on Facebook that are from Hungary and people that I don’t know, and that’s what gets me super excited.”

Although still in its infancy, Farkas and Funn have already seen modest success. Earlier this year, they struck a partnership with Dillard’s in Short Pump which allows Farkas to choose styles directly off the retailer’s floor and model them on FRSHSqueezed. Recently, Richmond, Virginia Fashion Bloggers (RVAFB, for short) featured FRSHSqueezed on their “Saturday Spotlight”, which casts a light on local fashion bloggers. FRSHSqueezed’s Facebook page has already accumulated nearly 3,000 “likes”.

A 6-foot-2 outside hitter, Farkas averaged 2.33 kills per set in 2012.

A 6-foot-2 outside hitter, Farkas averaged 2.33 kills per set in 2012.

Farkas also worked as a runway model for VCU Catalyst, a show featuring clothing by VCU Fashion Design and Merchandising students, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on May 5. Not only did Farkas model at the show, but she was able to report on it for FRSHSqueezed.

Now that she’s graduated, Farkas says she plans on investing herself in the site even further. There are a number of plans in the works, she says, and she and Funn hope to monetize the site in the near future.

“It’s definitely evolving,” Farkas, a two-year starter at outside hitter for the Rams, says, “But I’m excited that school’s ending because I can really dive into it.”

While it’s a labor of love for Farkas, she says there are other motivations for the blog. Farkas, who recently completed a marketing internship with Sue Williams and Colleagues in Church Hill, says she’d like to find a job in the fashion industry in the United States, and the blog could help her stand out. What better way to market yourself than with a successful blog that incorporates modeling, writing, marketing, fashion forecasting, social media saavy, smart aesthetics and a heap of initiative? It’s like a LinkedIn profile meets Vogue.

“I can kind of have that as a reference, [and say] ‘This is my thing, I built it from zero to here in this much time. I think I can do that for your company, and I do have ideas.’”

Click to follow FRSHSqueezed on Facebook or Twitter, or search FRSHSqueezed on Instagram.

DESPITE VOW, LOW COULDN’T WALK AWAY FROM VOLLEYBALL

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Marisa Low had had her left knee surgically repaired twice in 11 months.

By her own admission, Marisa Low probably shouldn’t be here. Nobody would’ve blamed the senior from San Diego if she called it a career. The first grueling knee rehabilitation almost broke her. That was enough, Low said. She swore she’d quit volleyball before she relived that pain.

She lied.

Six months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee for the second straight spring, Low jogged onto the court midway through a tense match with Virginia Sept. 7 and recorded two digs in a VCU victory.

“I went down to the end of the bench and asked her if she was ready,” recalls VCU Head Coach James Finley. “She said, ‘I guess we’ll find out.’”

While the dark, three inch brown scar is a conspicuous reminder of the toll she’s paid, the early returns say Low was ready. In 11 matches since returning to the lineup, the 5-foot-5 defensive specialist is averaging 2.41 digs per set, second most on the team. It’s a major feat that Low is playing at all, let alone at a high level.

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TRANSFERS’ CAREERS INTERSECT, STEER VCU IN NEW DIRECTION

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Jasmine Waters (front) and Anett Farkas (back) transferred to VCU in 2010 and are two of the driving forces behind VCU’s 13-2 record.

RICHMOND, Va. – The volleyball careers of Jasmine Waters and Anett Farkas have been similarly important to the revival taking place at VCU this year. Both transferred to the school three seasons ago and have become integral parts of a team that has chugged to a surprising 13-2 record.

Farkas, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, is third on the team in kills and digs, and fourth in blocks. Waters, a 6-foot-4 middle blocker, is second in blocks and hitting percentage. Farkas was the MVP of the VCU/Third Degree Sportswear Invitational earlier this year, while Waters earned similar honors at the season-opening Active Ankle Challenge at Ball State.

Although their volleyball careers have serendipitously intersected to lift VCU, their journeys to this place and this period in program history contrast dramatically.

A native of Budapest, Hungary, Farkas started playing volleyball when she was eight years old and trained under Hungarian legend Kotsis Attilane, who led the country fourth place finishes at the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games.

Farkas attended an English-speaking school in Budapest until the fifth grade. When tuition became too expensive, she moved to an Austrian-speaking school, where she stayed until graduation. Meanwhile, Farkas excelled at volleyball and earned a spot with Hungary’s Junior National Program.

A Landover, Md. native, Waters didn’t play organized sports until a classmate all but dragged her to volleyball practice during her junior year of high school. She played on the jayvee team that first year and moved up to varsity for her senior season.

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BATTLE-TESTED RAMS SET HISTORIC PACE

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After years of tough scheduling, the 2012 Rams have looked composed and experienced on the way to a 12-1 record, the best start in school history.

RICHMOND, Va. – August and September haven’t always been friends to VCU Volleyball. In recent years, the Rams have been pinned with some ungainly non-conference records during those months.

But after years of bruising gauntlets during the early weeks of the season, VCU is reaping the benefits. On Sunday, the Rams completed a sweep of the field at the West Point Challenge to improve to 12-1 for the first time in school history. VCU has played four non-conference tournaments this season and won each one. On Friday, Sept. 21, the Rams will begin Atlantic 10 Conference play at Duquesne. They hope their gaudy record is evidence that VCU is ready to chase down its first league championship and NCAA bid since 2005.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Head Coach James Finley, 138-111 in eight seasons with VCU. “It’s so exciting to start like this. I think it allows the girls to have a great level of confidence going into conference.”

Finley firmly believes in challenging non-conference schedules, even if the payoff is years down the road. In 2010, the Rams played six ranked teams. Four core members of this year’s team were either freshmen or sophomores on that squad, which VCU limped to a 2-14 record before winning 11 of its last 17.

Last season’s schedule was similarly tough and included matches with Purdue, Baylor, Xavier, Michigan State and others. The Rams were 4-11 at one point, but won eight of nine down the stretch to reach the Colonial Athletic Association Championship match.

If there was a turning point for VCU, that was it. The Rams are 18-4 since Oct. 22 of last season.

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THE WRAP: SEPT. 11 – EVERYBODY’S A WINNER AT O’SHEA’S!

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R.I.P. O’Shea’s.

I had a flashback this weekend, as VCU teams were barreling through their schedules and piling up victories.

It was the summer of 2003, and I was in Las Vegas for my college roommate’s bachelor party. By 4 a.m. of the first night (because Vegas deserves a minimum of two nights, even if it kills you) we five remaining souls, including four of us who had flown cross-country that morning, found ourselves at the gritty Las Vegas Strip outpost O’Shea’s, an Irish-themed casino whose dingy carpets and worn felt underscored years of neglect.

In recent years, O’Shea’s adopted a debauched college frat-house approach, complete with loud music, cheap brew and scores of beer pong tables, a strategy that, while kitschy, earned the place a rowdy reputation and passionate following that regularly packed the house. [Note: O’Shea’s closed this summer to make way for a new, glitzy property.]

This was not that O’Shea’s.

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THE WRAP: SEPT. 4

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Senior Kelsey Scherrer became the leading goal-scorer in VCU history in Sunday’s win over Columbia.

FIELD HOCKEY (2-0; 1-0 last week)
Scherr Shot
THE story of the weekend was me, successfully cooking an unburned meal for my wife on her birthday. The SECOND biggest story of the weekend was senior Kelsey Scherrer scoring the 39th goal of her career – a game-winner – in VCU’s 2-1 win over Columbia. Scherrer, who has two goals in as many games this season, passes Alycia Yoder, who racked up 38 goals from 1991-94.

“I foam at the mouth when I get in the circle with the ball,” Scherrer said, rather colorfully, of her nose for the goal.

Opening act
With Sunday’s victory, VCU is 2-0 to start the year for the first time since 2009.

See ya when I see ya
Following a pair of victories at Cary Street Field, the Rams will hit the road for the next six matches. Only the Grateful Dead have been on the road longer.

Ram-blings
“We are playing…this is a phenomenal year. We play as a team, as a unit on the field. We come off the field and we’re not as tired as we have been [in the past] because we’re playing as a unit. We’re connecting, we’re finishing. We’re doing the things we practice. We’re doing better every game. This has been the best game we’ve played so far and it can only get better.” – Kelsey Scherrer on VCU’s 2-0 start

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VOLLEYBALL CHASING CAA TITLE

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I know a lot of  fans will be in Charleston this weekend, but there’s a VCU team chasing a CAA title in Newark, Del. and I plan to be there. The VCU Volleyball Team, seeded sixth, will take on No. 3 Towson Friday at 4 p.m. in the CAA Tournament Quarterfinals. A win earns the Rams a date with Northeastern Saturday in the semifinals.

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