Dec. 8, 2011
Follow the FSU Volleyball Team on Twitter: @fsu_volleyball
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (seminoles.com) – The 12th-seeded Florida State University indoor volleyball team prepares for another daunting challenge as it faces fifth-seeded Purdue on Friday evening at 5 p.m. CT in the NCAA Sweet 16 at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn.
Friday’s match can be seen by fans by logging onto ESPN3.com. Play-by-play will be provided by Beth Mowins, while Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly will provide color analysis. The winner of the FSU-Purdue matchup will face the winner of fourth-seeded Iowa State and 13th-seeded Minnesota on Saturday evening at 8:30 CT on ESPNU.
The Seminoles’ (26-6) last trip to the NCAA regional semifinals also occurred in the Twin Cities in 2009, when it made an Elite Eight appearance. FSU has a 7-13 NCAA postseason record in 14 appearances that span back to 1983. Since head coach Chris Poole arrived in 2008, he has led FSU to six of those postseason victories.
The Garnet and Gold have now reached the NCAA regional semifinals in two of the last three years, which are their only two appearances in the third round in school history. FSU is not only playing for another significant milestone in school history, but also for the ACC. Should the Seminoles defeat Purdue, it would mark the third straight year an ACC squad has reached the Elite Eight (FSU in 2009, Duke in 2010).
Four holdovers remain from FSU’s 2009 Elite Eight team, arguably the best in school history. They include senior right-side hitter Rachael Morgan, junior setter Duygu Duzceler, junior middle blocker Sareea Freeman and junior outside hitter Fatma Yildirim.
The Seminoles’ victories over Albany and Cincinnati in the first and second rounds give them an 11-6 record this year versus 12 NCAA Tournament participants. Against the remaining field, FSU has only defeated Kentucky.
If FSU defeats Purdue on Friday, it would tie for the highest AVCA-ranked opponent (8) it has defeated since head coach Chris Poole arrived in 2008.
History with Purdue
The Seminoles will face another difficult opponent in the 2011 season when they battle No. 5 national seed Purdue on Friday, Dec. 9, in the Sweet 16 in
Minneapolis. All time, FSU and Purdue have split their series record in six matches played. FSU won the last match played between both teams on Aug. 30, 1997, winning
3-0 in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles are 1-2 versus the Boilermakers in neutral-site locations, with their lone victory coming on Oct. 3, 1981, by a 2-0 score in the Southwest Missouri Invitational in Springfield, Mo. The Seminoles had an opportunity to play the
Boilermakers in last year’s NCAA Sweet 16 in Austin, Texas, but fell to No. 1 seeded Florida in a wild five-set match in the second round. UF wound up getting swept
by Purdue in the following round.
If the Seminoles can get past Purdue and Minnesota can defeat Iowa State in the following match, FSU and the Golden Gophers could meet again in what would be a rematch of the 2009 Elite Eight contest.
On Dec. 11, 2009, FSU’s program earned a real breakthrough win when it defeated No. 13-ranked Kentucky in five sets in its first-ever appearance in the Sweet 16. However, the Seminoles were unable to ride their euphoria as they fell to Minnesota in four sets to end an incredible season that helped put FSU volleyball back on the national radar.
The number 14 bares plenty of significance between the Florida State and Purdue volleyball programs. Both teams share the number in that it represents their
total appearances each in NCAA postseason play.
Purdue’s NCAA Tournament appearance is its seventh in the last eight seasons, including a stop at the Elite Eight in 2010. The Boilermakers have reached
the Sweet 16 in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and in this year’s field.
While FSU boasts the same number of NCAA postseason
appearances, it has only reached the second round of postseason play four times, including 1993, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Read more of this weekend’s NCAA Sweet 16 match notes by clicking HERE