TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State Beach Volleyball program will open the 2016 campaign with a top 10 ranking as DiG Magazine ranked the Seminoles No. 6 in its preseason poll released on February 1.
Florida State embarks on its fifth beach volleyball season in 2016 and first as an officially recognized NCAA sport. This past summer the NCAA added beach volleyball as its 90th national championship, removing the sport’s emerging status label by meeting the required number of school’s that sponsor beach volleyball.
The Seminoles return 15 letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished with an overall record of 13-6 and in a tie for seventh place at the 2015 AVCA Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. Among FSU’s returning starters are sophomore Victoria Paranagua and senior Kristina Pellitteri, who paced the Seminoles with a team-high 25 wins, including a 13-6 dual-match record last year. Annie Montgomery (21 wins), Vanessa Freire (19 wins), Julie Brown (16 wins) and Sierra Sanchez (16 wins) are all back in 2016 after leading the Seminoles to a fourth straight AVCA Championship appearance.
“Sixth is a good start for us,” Florida State first-year head coach Brooke Niles said. “The team is having to learn a new system with the new staff that is in place and they are progressing very well. This is a good spot for us right now. We didn’t finish last year as high as we would have hoped but it also motivates this group to do better. Our main goal is to get better each and every game and to be ranked in the top eight at the end of the regular season so we can reach the national championships in Gulf Shores and hopefully do some damage.”
Florida State is scheduled to play 13 matches against schools ranked in DiG Magazine’s preseason top 20 including seven matches against teams ranked in the top 10.
The 2016 Florida State beach volleyball season will get underway in Tallahassee with the Garnet & Gold and Alumni matches, February 26-27, at the Seminole Sand Counts. The Garnet & Gold match is set for 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 26 with the Alumni Match to be held on Saturday, February 27 at 4:30 p.m. Admission to all beach volleyball matches is free of charge.
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DiG Magazine Beach Volleyball Preseason Poll
4. Long Beach State
5. Florida International
6. Florida State
8. Georgia State
14. Loyola Marymount
15. Grand Canyon
17. South Carolina
20. Santa Clara
*italics denotes 2016 opponent