TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After coming away with a 3-1 record in South Carolina at the Gamecock Grand Slam, the fourth-ranked Florida state beach volleyball team (11-5) heads to Miami, Fla. this weekend to play in the fifth annual Surf & Turf Invitational against three ranked teams.“This weekend is going to be another challenge for us because it is going to be the fifth weekend in a row that we will be on the road,” Florida State head coach Brooke Niles said.
“We have played in a lot of tough games. This will be another tough weekend because we play two matches on Friday against very good Tulane and FIU teams that we have not seen play. Saturday we play three duals in one day so that is going to be another challenge. I think the team is really focused and we are ready to go into the weekend and get some wins.”
The Seminoles start the tournament off against two Coastal Collegiate Sports Association foes, Tulane and FIU, on Friday. The Noles will face Tulane (9 a.m. ET) for the eighth time in school history. The Garnet and Gold hold a 7-0 lead in the series, defeating the Green Wave, 5-0, last season in Tallahassee. Florida State will be facing tournament-host No. 15 FIU (12 p.m. ET) for the sixth time. The Noles hold a 3-2 advantage over the Panthers in the series history, grabbing a 4-1 victory in DeLand, Fla., in 2016.
The Seminoles finish off the invitational against No. 3 UCLA (10 a.m. ET), No. 12 Arizona State (2 p.m. ET) and New Orleans (4 p.m. ET) on Saturday. The Noles will look to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Bruins earlier this year in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Florida State is 5-1 against UCLA with their only loss coming earlier this season. FSU will be squaring off against Arizona State for the third time. The Noles are a perfect 2-0 against the Sun Devils, last winning 5-0 in Tempe, Ariz. a year ago. The Noles will wrap up the event against New Orleans. This will be the first matchup between the Seminoles and the Privateers.
Junior Victoria Paranagua and sophomore Macy Jerger have emerged as leaders for the Seminoles this season, playing the majority of their matches together at the No. 3 position. The duo has a team-best 12-2 mark on the season and finished last weekend at 3-1 in South Carolina.
“I expect a lot from us this weekend,” Jerger said. “We have all been working really hard at practice. This week is going to be very similar to how it was when we were out in California and Hawaii. We are going to have two matches on Friday and three on Saturday. It will be interesting now that we are stronger and faster to see how we hold up during a long weekend against tough competition.”
In the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, Florida State comes in at No. 4. This marks the 16th straight week that the Noles have been ranked in the Top 5 of the AVCA Coaches Poll dating back to the first poll of 2016. The Seminoles still rank No. 4 in the DiG magazine poll, as well.
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