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).
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