April 18, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Looking to build on last year’s successful season, Florida State volleyball head coach Todd Kress has put together the most challenging schedules of his six-year tenure with the Seminoles. Florida State will face six teams that reached the 2007 NCAA Tournament, including 2005 NCAA Champion Washington, as well as the always tough Atlantic Coast Conference slate during the 2007 campaign.
“This is the most challenging and competitive schedule we’ve had since I’ve been here by far,” Kress said. “The ACC gets tougher every year and we want to be ready for the conference schedule by playing tougher opponents earlier in the year. We are going to have some very challenging matches early on, but they are matches that will show our players what is takes to play at a high level.”
Just as it does every year, highlighting the fall slate is a September 5 match against instate rival Florida at 7 p.m. in Gainesville. Florida State has taken a game off the Gators in three of the four meetings during Kress’ tenure, equaling the number of games the Seminoles had won against the Gators in the previous 10 years.
The toughest weekend of the year for Florida State will come across the country as it travels to the Long Beach State Invitational. The Seminoles will open the tournament against Washington, the 2005 NCAA Champion, and the number four team in last year’s final poll. After that they take on the host 49ers, who are a perennial NCAA Tournament.
Prior to traveling to the West Coast, Florida State will take part in the MSU Invitational, hosted by Michigan State. The Seminoles open the tournament against Missouri State, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, followed by Kansas out of the Big 12 Conference and the host Spartans, who qualified for the national summit.
Every year the ACC gets that much tougher in volleyball and 2007 won’t be any different. Defending league champion Duke advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament and ended the year at No. 22 in the final CSTV/AVCA poll. Four teams won 20 games and were ranked in the top ten in the region, including Florida State at number nine.
Florida State plays the Blue Devils at home on September 28 then travels to Durham on November 1. For the second year in a row, the Seminoles will open conference action against instate rival Miami as they take on the Hurricanes at home on September 14 then travel to Coral Gables on October 23. The two teams split a pair of thrilling five-game matches last year.
“Another benefit of playing tougher non-conference teams is that it builds up our RPI so we have a better resume when it comes down to getting an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament,” Kress added. “We’re making a concerted effort as a conference to step up our non-conference schedules across the board so the ACC will be recognized as the elite volleyball conference that is.”
The Seminoles open the 2007 campaign by playing host to the annual Florida State Invitational. FSU will open the season on August 25 as it takes on UNC-Asheville at 10 a.m., followed by TCU at 7 p.m.
Florida State is coming off a 2006 campaign that saw it win a school-record 13 conference matches while posting an overall mark of 19-12. The Seminoles bring back five starters off last year’s team, including AVCA All-American Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.), to go along with seven newcomers.