By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Amidst the joy and jubilation of the Florida State volleyball team’s 3-0 sweep over Alabama in the second round of the NCAA tournament last week, a slight sadness came over Katie Mosher and Sarah Wickstrom.
Yes, Mosher and Wickstrom – FSU’s only two seniors – and the rest of the Seminoles still have more games to play, but none of them will be in Tully Gym.
FSU is on the road from now until the end of the tournament, starting with Friday’s Sweet 16 matchup with Brigham Young in Seattle.
“That was kind of a bittersweet moment for us,” Mosher said. “We definitely have so much more to look forward to, so that’s kind of keeping us focused for now.”
That focus is only intensified in the postseason.
Since a two-game losing streak near the end of the regular season – FSU’s only two losses this year – the Seminoles have been literally unstoppable.
They’re 6-0 since the skid and haven’t lost so much as a single set.
“They were upset at themselves,” FSU coach Chris Poole said. “They realized we didn’t play as well as we should. We’d been warning them for weeks that we were making a lot of mistakes and we really needed to clean it up.
“(But) the last few weeks, we’ve played great.”
That’s the byproduct, Poole said, of having a senior class that’s as experienced and accomplished as it is talented.
Mosher and Wickstrom have been catalysts for the most successful run in school history. They were part of FSU’s first-ever Final Four run as freshmen and haven’t allowed the Seminoles to fall short of the Round of 32 in any of the years that followed.
So they know what it takes to rebound from adversity. And they know what it takes to succeed in the postseason.
“It’s exceptional to have seniors that, as freshmen, were part of the Final Four run,” Poole said. “So they can draw on that experience. We’ve got so many players that have been to the NCAA tournament or have played in front of big crowds, really none of our players are intimidated by any of it.”
Brigham Young might not intimidate FSU, but the Seminoles still expect a challenge.
Poole said that the No. 12 Cougars (27-4) are among the biggest and most physical teams to face FSU this season.
They rank first nationally in blocks and feature the top two blockers – middle blockers Whitney Young and Amy Boswell – in the country.
Mosher said FSU would look to use its speed to counterbalance BYU’s size.
“We’re so fast and athletic, but we can also be big, physical players,” she said. “So we’re hoping that that aspect of our game can cause some teams some problems.”
If the Seminoles can do that and top BYU, they’ll face the winner of Washington-Nebraska on Saturday.
Which, of course, means more games and more opportunities for FSU’s senior class to continue writing its history.
“We only have a few left,” Mosher said, “but those few could be the most important games of our entire career.”