TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State Beach Volleyball program will open the 2016 campaign with a top 5 ranking as the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) preseason poll has the Seminoles ranked No. 5 as announced on February 15.
The Florida State beach volleyball team has earned their second straight top 5 preseason ranking from the AVCA as the Seminoles opened the 2015 season ranked third. The AVCA continues to act as a strong influence for the growth of the sport. The emerging status of beach volleyball has increased tremendously over the last five years, making it the fastest transformation from a developing sport to a NCAA championship, in history of the NCAA. This past summer the NCAA added beach volleyball as its 90th national championship, making beach volleyball the fastest growing sport in Division I.
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.
“It’s nice to be recognized as one of the top teams in the country,” Florida State first-year head coach Brooke Niles said. “But we know this is a long season and it’s where you finish at the end of the year that’s most important. With just two weeks until the start of the season, I am very pleased with the progress our team is making. My hope is that we get better every time we hit the sand.”
The AVCA will feature a top 10 poll throughout the beach volleyball season. Florida State will play seven matches against schools ranked in the AVCA’s preseason 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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AVCA Beach Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Southern Cal
4. Long Beach State
5. Florida State
T-6. Florida International
8. Georgia State
*italics denotes 2016 opponent