SAINT LEO, Fla. – Former Saint Leo volleyball standout Cristiana Florea, who played for the Lions from 1999-2003, was one of 15 former student-athletes, coaches and administrators that will be inducted into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame, it was announced earlier this week.  

Florea can be considered a player before her time.  In an era where power-hitters were at a premium in Division II, the native of Baia Mare, Romania traveled to the United States after enrolling at Saint Leo in August of 1999 as a member of its first University-era class.  That same month ‘Tina’, as her teammates called her, first stepped foot on the Bowman Center floor and became one of the most dominating players in Saint Leo Volleyball history.

The middle-blocker earned all-conference awards each year, earning first-team honors her junior and senior seasons.  Despite the recent success of the volleyball program, she remains the only Saint Leo volleyball player to be named the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year, an award which she received in 2002.  

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Named team captain her junior and senior seasons, and named to seven different all-tournament teams, Florea ranks first at Saint Leo in six different career statistical categories including total kills (1,609), attack percentage (.351) as well as aces (214) and she was also an All-South Region selection in both 2001 and 2002.

In addition to the Conference Player of the Year honor in 2002, she was also named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American Team in 2001 and an Asics Volleyball Magazine All-America in both 2001 and 2002.  

Prior to her nomination to the SSC Hall of Fame, she was also named to the Sunshine State Conference Silver Anniversary Volleyball Team in 2007.  She was one of just 20 volleyball players to be honored as the Conference’s best in the first 25 years of SSC-sponsored volleyball.

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Her outstanding skill level was not limited to the volleyball court as she graduated from Saint Leo with her degree in International Business and finished with a 3.70 grade-point average.  She was named the International Business Student of the Year during the 2002-03 school year and was a Verizon Academic All-District Team selection that year as well.

The other 14 members joining Florea are comprised of seven of the remaining eight member institutions of the Sunshine State Conference.

Four members represent the University of Tampa while Barry University and Lynn University will place three former student-athletes into the Hall of Fame.  Florida Southern College adds two members to its delegation, while the Florida Institute of Technology and Rollins College join Saint Leo with one inductee each.

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This year’s inductees comprise the 18th class to be elected into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame. A total of 147 student-athletes, coaches, and administrators have been inducted into the distinguished group since the inaugural class of 1991-92.

The Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 to honor those persons who have made outstanding contributions to the conference.  Its purpose is to perpetuate the memory of those who brought distinction, honor, and excellence to the SSC.

The inductees that make up the 2009 class will be honored on Saturday, June 20th at the Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. with induction activities scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame, or to purchase tickets, please visit the SSC website at SunshineStateConference.com or contact Kelly Harrison, Assistant Commissioner, at kharrison@sunshinestateconference.com.