MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Florida State volleyball team opens the 2018 season this weekend in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, taking on two top-ten programs at the Target Center on Friday and Saturday.
The Seminoles will face No. 4 Minnesota on Friday (Aug. 24) at 8:00 pm EST, and No. 9 Wisconsin on Saturday (Aug. 25) at 5:30 pm EST. North Carolina will also represent the ACC in the event.
FSU brought in seven newcomers prior to this season, and with a fully healthy team heading into the first weekend, head coach Chris Poole is expecting this new lineup to be even more successful than his 2017 squad.
“There were some bumps and bruises and potholes we had to go through last year, and we were still able to achieve going to the NCAA Tournament,” Poole said. “I think the girls are very fired up and very motivated this year, and they worked really hard this spring and summer.”
This isn’t the first time Florida State will open the season against some of the top teams in the nation, as the Seminoles have gone head-to-head with 16 different ranked non-conference opponents in the regular season since 2009.
“If you want to play among the best, you have to play the best,” Poole said. “I wanted this young team to know what it was going to take to play at this level. So we wanted to jump out and play tough teams in the beginning of the season, because whether we win or lose it’s going to give the players a sense of the expectations they should have every single day.”
FSU’s Friday night season opener against the Golden Gophers will stream live through BTN Plus (paid subscription), and Saturday’s match against the Badgers will air on Big Ten Network. In total, the Seminoles will have 24 matches broadcast this season on five different linear and digital networks.
Poole vs. the Big Ten
The two matches this weekend will mark the 10th and 11th time the Seminoles have taken on a current Big Ten team since Coach Poole’s arrival in 2008. This also marks the fifth time Poole has scheduled a preseason match against a Big Ten program since he began scheduling in 2009.
Florida State has recorded five wins against Big Ten programs in Poole’s tenure, with a wins against No. 8 Illinois (3-0, 2009), No. 8 Purdue (3-1, 2011), No. 21 Ohio State (3-1, 2012), No. 7 Michigan (3-2, 2013) and No. 7 Nebraska (3-1, 2014).
FSU enters the season unranked, but received 17 votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top-25 preseason poll.
The Seminoles have now defeated an AVCA Top-25 team without being ranked three times under Poole – a 3-0 sweep over No. 8 Illinois in 2009, a 3-1 victory over No. 23 Tulsa in 2011 and a 3-0 win over No. 20 Miami in the same year. Florida State went to the Elite Eight in 2009 and the Final Four in 2011.
FSU vs. UMN
The Golden Gophers lead the series against the Seminoles 10-6, with two of those matches taking place in Minneapolis. Of FSU’s six victories in the series, the Seminoles have shutout their opponent twice and gone to five sets only once for a 15-5 set record over Minnesota.
The last time the two teams met was in 2016, when the Golden Gophers pulled out a 3-1 victory over FSU after the Seminoles won the first set. The last time Florida State defeated Minnesota was in 1992; the two teams played each other twice in the Florida State Tournament in Tallahassee, as Minnesota won the first match in a 3-1 decision and FSU won the second match in five sets.
FSU vs. UW
Wisconsin and Florida State have only met one time in the series, when the Badgers beat the Seminoles 3-1 in the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen in 2013. FSU won the first set, but Wisconsin came back to win the four-set decision.
Head coach Kelly Sheffield returns four starters this year (plus a libero), including the AVCA National Freshman of the Year and All-American Dana Rettke, and AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans Tionna Williams and Sydney Hilley.
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