TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With opening day just 10 days away, the Seminole softball program has started garnering national acclaim as Florida State has been ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in the preseason polls by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and USA Softball, respectively. It is the highest that FSU has been ranked in the preseason by either poll, topping the No. 5 ranking given to the 2015 team.
The Noles will play a total of 12 games against seven teams ranked in the preseason polls during the 2017 regular season, including eight games against five other teams ranked in the Top 10 of the NFCA poll, with seven of them on the road or at neutral sites. FSU matches UCLA and BYU as the only schools in the country to face five non-conference teams ranked in the NFCA preseason top 10 during the 2017 regular season.
“We are really excited about finally getting the season started,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “The preseason rankings are awesome and everyone gets excited about them but it is the end of season that matters and the one thing we are focused on is playing our first game on February 10th.
“Our staff is pleased with the work the team has put in and know that it has been quality work. It is the time now to put it all to the test. The season is the challenge ahead and it is a long one that we all have worked so hard for. Going to be an exciting opportunity ahead to play each and every day with passion and purpose.”
The Noles have been ranked in each of the last 56 polls by USA Softball, dating back to 2013, and have been in the top 15 in each of the last 50 polls. Florida State has earned 29 wins over ranked teams in the last three seasons, including 10 wins against top-10 opponents.
In the second season of the ACC/Big Ten Softball Challenge, Florida State will welcome Nebraska and Northwestern to Tallahassee on February 17-19, as both teams are receiving votes in the preseason polls.
The Noles will face significant competition this year out at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic as the six-game slate will include four ranked teams, with three in the top 10. FSU starts out the tournament with No. 19/18 Texas A&M on February 23 and later plays No. 10/12 Arizona on February 25 before ending the weekend with games against No. 8/8 UCLA and No. 6/6 Michigan, both teams that FSU beat at the 2016 Women’s College World Series.
Florida State will also take on Pac-12 opponent Stanford on February 23 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, as well as a San Diego State team on February 24 that finished with a 30-22 record a season ago.
Two of the top teams in the ACC will face off in Tallahassee on March 17-19 as No. 22/22 Notre Dame comes to town to continue the annual rivalry. FSU defeated ND in the ACC Championship Game in 2014 and 2016.
Nine of the final 13 games of the season against teams ranked or receiving votes in the preseason polls will come on the road as the Noles start the streak at No. 4/3 Florida on April 12, before heading to RV/NR South Carolina for a pair of games on April 14-15. FSU heads to NR/RV Louisville for a three-game ACC series on April 22-24, before closing out the ACC season against RV/RV North Carolina at home on April 28-30 prior to the final regular season home game at JoAnne Graf Field against No. 4/3 Florida on May 3.
Florida State will close out the regular season on May 6-7 with a three-game series on the road at No. 9/9 Oregon, winners of each of the last four Pac-12 Championships.
Overall, 28 of FSU’s 56 games this season will be played against teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the preseason polls by the NFCA or USA Softball.
The 2017 season gets underway in Tallahassee on February 10 with the Unconquered Invitational as the Seminoles host Lipscomb, Furman and Marshall in a tournament where each team will play five games. The Noles will open on Friday against Lipscomb at 1:30 p.m. on JoAnne Graf Field.
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