MIAMI, Fla. – The seventh-ranked Florida State volleyball team heads into the second half of its schedule with a trip to South Beach for FIU’s Surf N Turf Invitational. In the Seminoles’ five matches over the weekend, the team will see three ranked programs and two conference opponents.
The Seminoles will first face No. 2 UCLA and TCU on Friday (March 30) at Lummus Park, followed by Tulane, No. 12 FIU and No. 11 Grand Canyon on Saturday (March 31). FSU has already faced the Bruins this season, losing a 2-3 decision at the East Meets West Challenge in Manhattan Beach. FSU has not seen any of the other four opponents yet this season.
FSU is coming off of a bye week, where it hosted the Garnet and Gold Tournament in Tallahassee, but the team has been on the road for a majority of March. Since hosting the FSU invitational March 2-3, the Seminoles have been in Southern California, Tavares, Fla. and now South Beach. The team returns home next weekend to host the Seminole Beach Battle April 6-7.
The Bruins are coming off of a big 4-1 win against No. 1 Pepperdine on Tuesday (March 28). This marks the second time the Bruins defeated the top-ranked team this season after the beat then-No. 1 USC on February 28.
UCLA is on a 14-match win streak, with its last loss coming to Pepperdine on March 3rd. Nine of those wins have come against ranked teams, including Hawai’i, FSU, Arizona, Cal and Washington.
Florida State leads 6-3 in the series. The last time the two teams met was earlier this season, when UCLA pulled out a 3-2 win over the Seminoles at the East Meets West Challenge.
TCU won two of its last four matches at the Gamecock Challenge, defeating UAB and UNC Wilmington, and falling to Florida Gulf Coast and No. 8 South Carolina. Before going 2-2 in South Carolina, the Horned Frogs had gone on an 11-match losing streak, falling to 11 nationally ranked opponents.
The Frogs closed out the 2017 season ranked in the AVCA Top 15 first the first time in school history (13th); tied a school record with wins (18); and they won 10 of their last 11 matches.
The Seminoles have never dropped a match to the Horned Frogs and hold a 3-0 all-time record in the series.
Tulane has lost four of its last five matches and enters the weekend on a three-match losing streak, falling to No. 17 Stetson, No. 20 Florida Atlantic and No. 10 LSU at the Tiger Beach Challenge.
Madeline Mertz and Kaylie McHugh have been dominant at the No. 1 position for the Green Wave, going 13-4 on the first court this season. The lineup has seen the most turnover at the No. 5 position, with eight different pairs competing for Tulane on the fifth court.
Florida State is undefeated against Tulane, posting a 9-0 all-time record in the series. FSU has defeated Tulane five times in neutral territory, with one of those wins coming at the 2017 CCSA Championships.
FIU is on a nine-match winning streak after going 4-0 at the Saint Leo Invitational after taking down Saint Leo, Jacksonville, Eckerd and Florida Southern. The team has three ranked wins this season, defeating No. 13 TCU, No. 17 Florida Atlantic, and No. 15 Stetson — all as the eleventh-ranked team.
The Panthers’ duo of Margherita Bianchin/Federica Frasca have been dominating the No. 1 position, as they are on a 12-match win streak and are 19-1 so far this season. Mariana Dal Pozzo and Taija Thomas have also stayed consistent this season, picking up a 12-1 record as a pair at the No. 5 position.
Florida State holds a 7-2 record against Florida International, with five of those wins coming in neutral territory.
GCU faced a tough schedule early on this season, facing five ranked opponents in their first six matches. The Antelopes dropped close 2-3 decisions against No. 14 Cal Poly, No. 6 LSU and No. 1 USC in February.
The Antelopes will face six ranked teams this weekend at the Surf N Turf Invitational, with four of their opponents ranked in the AVCA Top-10.
Florida State is undefeated against Grand Canyon, earning wins in Tallahassee, Phoenix and Baton Rouge, La.
Friday, March 30
#7 FSU vs. #2 UCLA – 10:00 am
#7 FSU vs. TCU – 3:00 pm
Saturday, March 31
#7 FSU vs. Tulane – 8:00 am
#7 FSU vs. #12 FIU – 11:00 am
#7 FSU vs. #11 Grand Canyon – 5:00 pm
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