TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Whether you're inside Tully Gym or the Al Lawson Center, you're going to see good volleyball this fall.
Both Florida State and Florida A&M made the NCAA Tournament last year, and both hit the transfer portal this off season to boost the strength of their programs. Both programs also opened practice Tuesday with big goals for the upcoming season.
The Seminoles were one of the youngest teams in the country last year. Head into this season, this team returns a lot of those players, athletes that got a lot of playing time last fall. The Seminoles also add four experienced transfers.
Head coach Chris Poole likes the balance of this team, now, it's about combining those new faces with last years squad, and he's excited to see the result.
"I think it's going to be a lot of fun, we know there's a lot of work that needs to be done," he said. "A short amount of time, and we still hope that we can stay healthy and keep them on the court and keep training. There's a lot of potential with this team. You want your team to get along and you hope they always will. That doesn't always happen amongst all the players, but I feel like this is a team where the chemistry is really good and they generally enjoy being around each other on the court."
The Seminoles host a garnet and gold match August 19th, while they open the regular season August 26th against Illinois State.
At Florida A&M, the reigning SWAC champions dipped into the portal as well, adding five new athletes to an already talented roster. For the Rattlers, it's about building off their success last season and knowing that the target on their back has only gotten bigger.
They want to repeat as conference champions, and the road to get there starts with their tough non-conference slate. The scheduling was something that was done by design so when they get to SWAC play, and beyond, they're ready for anything.
"Once you win your conference championship in the NCAA Tournament, you're not going to play somebody that is an easy match," he said. "We thought we would challenge our kids a little bit more in preseason and hopefully they will step up and play. I'm sure they're excited to play those matches also."
The Rattlers have an exhibition match August 19th against West Florida. They open the regular season against NC State August 26th.