November 28, 2018 - by
Volleyball Prepares for NCAA First Round Matchup Against Gators

ORLANDO, Fla. – Very few programs feel as comfortable in the postseason as the Florida State volleyball team. Reaching the NCAA Tournament has become the standard for the Seminoles under head coach Chris Poole, as the Seminoles are now one of only 11 teams in the nation that have made the last ten consecutive tournaments.

Florida State (19-9, 15-3 ACC) faces in-state rival No. 16 Florida (24-6, 15-3 SEC) in the First Round on Thursday, Nov. 29. The Seminoles and the Gators will meet in the very first match of the 2018 NCAA Tournament this season, with the first serve set for 4:30 pm on WatchESPN.

Poole and UF head coach Mary Wise have played each other every year since 1994 (when Poole founded the program at Arkansas). The Seminoles and the Gators have met 15 times since Poole came to FSU in 2008, four of which have been in the NCAA Tournament – the two teams are 2-2 in the postseason in that period of time.

FSU has taken the last two postseason matches against the Gators, including a five-set come-from-behind win in Gainesville in 2016, advancing the Seminoles to the Sweet 16. Senior setter Brianne Burkert, junior DS Madison Sullivan and current Director of Operations Hailey Luke were all on that team. Since that win, UF has taken the last two matches in both Gainesville and Tallahassee.

In the Second Round, Florida State will face the winner of No. 21 UCF/Florida Gulf Coast on Friday at 7:00 pm. The Seminoles have never seen a ranked UCF team or the Knights in the postseason, and this marks FGCU’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

UCF’s section of the bracket is a perfect example of the challenging field in this year’s tournament. All four teams finished above 50 in the latest RPI, while FSU, UF and UCF all finished in the top 30 – making it the second toughest campus site in the tournament based on RPI (behind Texas).

Volleyball Prepares for NCAA First Round Matchup Against Gators

All-Session Tickets | Single-Session Tickets | Bracket
Pregame Notes | WatchESPN | Live Stats

 

Biggest Storylines

  • The SEC’s blocking leader – Rachael Kramer – will meet the ACC’s blocking leader – Taryn Knuth – on Thursday night. Kramer leads the conference with 156 total blocks and 1.38 blocks per set (ranked 13th and 21st in the nation, respectively). Knuth leads the ACC with 185 total blocks and 1.75 blocks per set this season, ranked second and third nationally.
  • UCF is no stranger to big ranked wins – the AAC champions took down then-No. 7 USC in four sets earlier this season in Gainesville.
  • FGCU is having one of the biggest seasons in program history, claiming the ASUN championship for the first time after going 15-1 in conference play. The Eagles enter the postseason on a 15-match win streak, which is tied for the longest in the program’s Division I history.
  • Florida Gulf Coast swept Miami in Coral Gables in the non-conference season – the Canes were the only conference opponent other than Pitt to beat the Seminoles in ACC play this season.
  • Three teams bring some big conference accolades into the postseason – FSU’s Payton Caffrey is the ACC Player of the Year; UCF’s McKenna Melville is the AAC Freshman of the Year, Todd Dagenais is the Coach of the Year; FGCU’s Courtney VanLiew is the unanimous ASUN Player of the Year, Dana Axner is both the Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year.

 

 

 

For more information visit Facebook (Florida State Seminoles Volleyball), Twitter (FSU_Volleyball) and Instagram (FSUvolleyball).

 

 

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