TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Another daunting and entertaining Florida State indoor volleyball schedule has been announced by head coach Chris Poole, featuring 10 NCAA postseason participants from 2012, 13 home matches at Tully Gym and three new conference opponents.
“We put a lot of time and effort with our schedule each season. My goal is to have one of the Top 10 non-conference schedules in the nation every year. We have again accomplished that goal,” Poole said. “It will be a great challenge for our team and we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone and compete against other Top 25 competition. We will have a mixture of players returning from an NCAA National Semifinal run to young players that were part of the third-best recruiting class in the country in 2012. We will have a lot of talent, but the key will be our fitness level and how healthy we will be throughout the season.”
Seminole volleyball fans can pack Tully Gym once again to see Florida State take on five of its 10 NCAA Tournament opponents from a season ago. In Tallahassee, Florida State faces Ohio State as part of the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational on Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. in what will be the team’s home-opening match. Last season, the Buckeyes were defeated by Florida State during the regular season and reached the second round of the NCAA postseason.
In the same tournament, the Seminoles also face second-round opponent Western Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 7 at noon. Florida State finishes the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational on Sept. 7 with a 7 p.m. matchup against Florida Gulf Coast.
League rival Miami makes its way to Tallahassee on Wednesday, Oct. 16, for an 8 p.m. tilt with the Seminoles. Florida State defeated the Hurricanes on Nov. 23 last season in what was a de facto ACC Championship match at Tully Gym. The Seminoles travel to Miami for a Wednesday night tilt on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.
“The ACC has quickly become one of the top conferences in the country,” Poole added. “While we have traditionally been one of the Top five conferences the last five years, our goal is certainly to continue making improvements as a league and shoot for one of the Top three conferences year in and year out. We are adding some great programs and some very highly-respected coaches into our league over the next couple of years. It is an exciting time to represent Florida State Volleyball and be part of the ACC.”
On Friday Nov. 1, Florida State will host another conference rival in North Carolina, whom reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. Fellow postseason opponent NC State visits Tully Gym on Sunday, Nov. 3 for a 1 p.m. match.
Included in Florida State’s away schedule is Florida, as the Seminoles head to Gainesville on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. Florida State broke a 21-match losing streak to the Gators last season when it swept them at home in front of a raucous crowd.
Florida State heads to College Station, Texas to participate in a challenging tournament hosted by Texas A&M. The Aggies and Seminoles face off on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET before Florida State faces reigning NCAA National Semifinal participant Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Noon ET.
The season-opening tournament at Long Beach State also features three opponents with reputable programs in the 49ers (Aug. 31 at 10 p.m. ET), Kentucky (Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. ET) and Illinois (Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. ET).
The Seminoles welcome three new ACC opponents this season in Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Florida State and the Fighting Irish clash twice this season on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. at Notre Dame and Sunday, Nov. 17 at noon in Tallahassee.
The second matchup against Notre Dame begins a five-match homestand that ends the regular season. Seven of Florida State’s last 10 matches will be played at Tully Gym, while the Seminoles go through a three-week span from Sept. 12 to Oct. 5 where they will play on the road.
Florida State’s first ACC match of the season will be on the road against the Orange on Saturday, Sept. 28 at noon in Syracuse. The Seminoles and Pittsburgh face just once in Tallahassee on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
The back-to-back defending ACC champions welcome back another strong core from last season. American Volleyball Coaches Association Third-Team All-American Ashley Neff returns for her senior season to anchor the middle-blocking unit, while versatile outside hitter Olivera Medic and redshirt junior libero Katie Mosher highlight some of the returnees in the back row.
Florida State’s 2012 recruiting class rated third-best in the country gains another year of experience coming off their freshman seasons. Included in the nationally-renowned class are rising sophomore outside hitter Nicole Walch, rising redshirt freshman outside hitter Leah Mikesky, rising sophomore right-side Mara Green and rising redshirt freshman middle blocker Sarah Burrington.
The Seminoles have earned an NCAA postseason berth for four consecutive years, matching a school record set from 1987-90. Part of their recent success has been their play at Tully Gym, where they recorded a 27-match win streak before ending the 2012 season with a loss to Purdue in what was deemed a neutral-site contest.