TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State Beach Volleyball program will officially embark on its fifth season, and first as an NCAA sport, this weekend in Tempe, Ariz., when the Seminoles play at the Sun Devil Challenge, March 4-5. FSU will then head to California for five more matches over a three-day span beginning at No. 4 Long Beach State on Wednesday, March 9.
In Arizona, the Seminoles will play four total matches including games against No. 17 South Carolina and Arizona State. The Seminoles are a combined 5-0 against the Gamecocks and Sun Devils all-time. FSU will also face two opponents for the first time in No. 15 Grand Canyon and New Mexico.
Florida State’s trip to California should provide another early test for the Seminoles as the Garnet & Gold will face three teams all ranked in the top 10 nationally including preseason No. 1 and defending national champion Southern Cal on Friday, March 11.
The Noles will open their west coast swing on Wednesday, March 9 against No. 4 Long Beach State before heading to Santa Monica on Thursday for match-ups against Cal State Northridge and No. 6 UCLA. FSU will conclude its road trip in Los Angeles on Friday against Loyola Marymount and the top-seeded Women of Troy. The match between FSU and Southern Cal will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network Los Angeles.
FSU enters the 2016 campaign with a top 5 ranking as the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) has the Noles ranked No. 5 in their preseason poll. It marks the program’s second straight top-five preseason ranking from the AVCA.
Brooke Niles, who enters her first year as head coach at Florida State, inherits a Seminole team 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. Florida State introduced what was then called sand volleyball as its 20th varsity sport in the spring of 2012 and competed as an emerging NCAA sport for the first four years. FSU is one of just two beach volleyball programs (Pepperdine) to have made appearances in the AVCA Championships from 2012-2015.
Florida State returns 15 letterwinners from last year’s squad including seven student-athletes that competed at the championship event as well as adding six newcomers. 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.
The start of the 2016 season marks the Seminoles’ fifth consecutive year they have opened the season on the road. Florida State owns an all-time record of 49-15 in matches played away from Tallahassee.
Stay up to date with all the latest Seminole Beach volleyball news by logging on to Seminoles.com. Also be sure to follow the Noles on Twitter (FSU_BeachVB) and on Instagram (FSUBeachVolleyball).
Friday, March 4
No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 17 South Carolina (Tempe, Ariz.), 4:00 pm (ET)
No. 5 Florida State at Arizona State, 8:00 pm (ET)
Saturday, March 5
No. 5 Florida State at No. 15 Grand Canyon, 11:00 am (ET)
No. 5 Florida State vs. New Mexico, 5:45 pm (ET)
Wednesday, March 9
No. 5 Florida State at No. 4 Long Beach State, 4:00 pm (ET)
Thursday, March 10
No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 6 UCLA (Santa Monica, Calif.), 2:00 pm (ET)
No. 5 Florida State vs. Cal State Northridge (Santa Monica, Calif.), 4:00 pm (ET)
Friday, March 11
No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 14 Loyola Marymount (Los Angeles, Calif.), 12:00 pm (ET)
No. 5 Florida State at No. 1 Southern Cal, 2:00 pm (ET) – TV: Pac-12 Los Angeles