ELITE: Caitlin Moon

Caitlin Moon Has Found Exactly What She Wants: A Future As a Florida State Seminole

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Caitlin Moon is driving again. She’s been doing a lot of that this past half-decade or so, though she hasn’t actually been the driver for very long. A native a Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, Moon has been making the roughly 81-mile drive down Highway 290 to Austin since she was in eighth grade and beach volleyball began to tug at her heartstrings.

It didn’t take long, of course, for beach volleyball to take hold. It does that to people sometimes. Just grabs them all at once and makes them wonder why they’d ever play this sport in a gym. Inside. Where there’s five other people on the court, no sand, and no sun.

“We said ‘Oh, this is kinda fun! There’s only two people, so you’re not having to depend on five other players to get the job done,’” Moon recalled of her first experience on the beach, in seventh grade. The “we” she is referencing there is her older sister, Courtney, who’s a year older and is now competing for Florida Atlantic.

They didn’t ditch indoor immediately, but so piqued they were by beach that they joined a club in San Antonio, 210 Beach, run by Jason Kaiser, father of Maja Kaiser, a starter at USC. They hopped in the beginner’s group, and in just a few weeks they realized, as Caitlin recalled, “Wow this is really something that I really enjoy and I started to do both indoor and beach at the same time and I was realizing that I really liked beach better than indoor. There’s less drama, less dependence on players, so I really wanted to do it.”

So they dove in. And they began driving. All the way to Austin they went, for Texas Volleyball Tour practices with a longtime player named Tim Wooliver, a 44-year-old who made his first AVP main draw in 2000 and finished second in an NVL – when the NVL was thriving – in 2012. The two-hour drives were never a question if they were worth it or not. They always were. Soon enough, when the college recruiting process began in earnest, the Moons began getting looks. Courtney signed on with Florida Atlantic, one of the better teams in the East Region.

“Tim knows some of the best college coaches, and he would bring in six or seven coaches, have a tournament where they could watch and they’d also have clinics where we could work with the coaches and see what we like,” Caitlin said.

In a handful of those tournaments, she’d play both with and against recruits from various colleges, including, namely, Florida State. She won a few with Kate Privett, who is coming off one of the best freshman seasons in Florida State history. Caitlin won another recently in Tavares with Raelyn White, another Florida State recruit.

Seminoles coach Brooke Niles noticed.

Wooliver told Caitlin that Niles would love it if Caitlin would send her videos and updates of her progress. When Caitlin went to a Florida State camp, she was sold.

“Her coaching is very similar to Tim’s, so it wasn’t a really big change for me to go to a different style of coaching for college,” Caitlin said. “She’s great, I just love her so much. She’s the best, just so good.”

When the scholarship offer came in from Florida State, there was never a doubt.

“I just wanted to be the best, to compete at the highest level I could,” Moon said. “That was my last stop. I knew I liked her already, so we did each stop, and FSU was last, so I had everyone interested in mind, and I could see ‘Wow, this is really what I want.’”

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