TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - (Seminoles.com) – Fresh off a pair of wins in the AVCA Showcase, the eighth-ranked Florida State (2-0) indoor volleyball team returns to Tully Gym to host its rival, 11th-ranked Florida (3-0) on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Sunshine Showdown.
“I expect this match to be competitive,” FSU head coach Chris Poole said. “We’ve built the program that way. We have a lot of respect for each other and anytime we’ve played it’s been a good match that was played at a very high level.”
This is the first regular season where Florida State is ranked higher in the AVCA Coaches Poll than Florida. The Gators own the series lead 36-23, but the Seminoles have won two out of the last three meetings.
The Seminoles are coming off a pair of wins, first defeating (then No. 7) Nebraska, 3-1 in Lincoln in front of a crowd of 8,854 on Aug. 29 in the Devaney Center before handling Iowa State, 3-0 on Aug. 31.
“We kept coming back in that match (against Nebraska),” Poole said. “We never panicked. That’s unusual at the beginning of the season, we couldn’t have scripted it any better.”
Florida started off its season with a pair of 3-0 victories over Idaho and Georgia Southern before outlasting Oklahoma, 3-2.
“We have to look past those last two matches,” senior setter Sarah Wickstrom said. “We have to prepare for Florida. They’re a great team and all the pressure is on us now and in the past it’s been reversed. We have to make sure we’re prepared and practice well so we can take it to them on Thursday.”
The match also pits two of the active winningest coaches in NCAA Division I volleyball history against one another. Florida Head Coach Mary Wise ranks third on the list with 798 victories, while Poole is 10th at 708.
Poole and Wise have faced each other as head coaches since 1994 when Poole was at the helm at Arkansas. Wise has put up a 28-4 record against Poole during the stretch.
Thursday’s contest will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and livestats will be available.
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