TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State beach volleyball team is ready to wrap up its offseason as the team returns to action this weekend for its first of three fall tournaments. On Saturday (Oct. 7), FSU will face off against Stetson, UNF and FAU in Tavares, Fla.
As it does every season, the team has its sights set on another CCSA championship and a deep postseason run in 2018. With what could be one of the program’s best rosters and the addition of some top-level staff members, the team’s goals are not out of reach.
Head coach Brooke Niles will return 16 players from the 2017 season after graduating standouts Leigh Andrew, Sierra Sanchez and Julia Thompson. Niles also added an impressive freshman class for the 2018 season with the addition of Marielle Diaz, Madison Fitzpatrick, Avery Poppinga, Bailey Reardon, Ashley Robert and Alaina Chacon – all of which were some of the 2017’s top recruits.
The Seminoles’ returning class brings both experience and a high level of skill to the 2017-18 team. Last season, the 16 returners saw four CCSA Pair of the Week honors, multiple conference recognitions, and even an AVCA All-American recognition. The team set multiple program records and garnered national recognition for the team’s success both on the sand and in the classroom in 2017.
The team also added volunteer assistant coach Nick Lucena this season, an Olympian and currently one of the world’s top professional beach players. With a staff now made up entirely of professional beach players, the team will be led by one of the nation’s best coaching staffs this season.
The Seminoles’ fall slate was set to begin in Vero Beach, Fla. but due to the projected impacts from Tropical Storm Nate, the tournament was forced to move to Tavares. The Seminoles will still take on the same teams in the tournament, facing Stetson, UNF and FAU in the all-day tournament on October 7th at the Hickory Point Recreation Park.
FSU is undefeated against the three opponents that the team will see in Vero Beach. The Seminoles have swept the Hatters in six of the eight matches in the series, and the last meeting between the two resulted in a 4-1 win on the road for the Seminoles. FSU is also undefeated against North Florida and Florida Atlantic, holding a 3-0 record over the Ospreys and a 6-0 record over the Owls.
At the end of the month, the Seminoles will see LSU, Spring Hill, GSU, Stetson and South Carolina in Gulf Shores, Ala. on October 28th.
Florida State holds a 5-0 record against LSU, a 5-1 record against Georgia State and a 10-0 record against South Carolina. The only loss the Seminoles have seen against any team in the Gulf Shores Tournament was a 2-3 loss to Georgia State in 2015. Otherwise, FSU has seen 15 wins in the last two years against the four teams it has seen in competition – Florida State has not yet played Spring Hill College.
Finally, FSU will face off against Stetson again in the Tavares Tournament on November 4th.
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