Aug 29, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - The 18th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball program begins its 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 30, as it prepares for another difficult season-opening tournament at the Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational in Long Beach, Calif.
The Seminoles open play facing perennial Big Ten power Illinois on Friday at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT. Florida State then renews its non-conference rivalry with No. 17 Kentucky later on Friday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. On Saturday, the Seminoles finish the tournament facing host Long Beach State at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. All matches are held at the Walter Pyramid.
Florida State's first two matches of the season against the Illini and Wildcats can be followed via live stats on CBS GameTracker. Saturday's matchup at Long Beach State will have a free video and audio streaming on the 49ers' athletic website - www.longbeachstate.com.
"We're starting with three great teams. All three of them are considered among the best in the country," head coach Chris Poole said. "Long Beach State has won national championships in the past, Illinois was in the NCAA National Semifinals two years ago and Kentucky has been in the sweet 16 the last four years. They are very good levels of programs and we know that.
"I like to challenge them early in pre-conference. I don't think you can prepare your team for conference play without getting out of your comfort zone and playing the best in non-conference."
The Seminoles open the 2013 season with three opponents that they have played since Poole became Florida State's head coach in 2008. Poole's first-ever Top 25 victory at Florida State came against then No. 8 Illinois in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Sept. 4, 2009. The win over the eighth-ranked Illini ties for the highest-ranked victory in school history.
Kentucky and its national ranking is also relevant to Florida State. The Seminole volleyball program's first victory over a Top 25 team came at then No. 9 Kentucky on Nov. 12, 1988. If FSU defeats the Wildcats, it will be the 23rd Top 25 win in program history based on the AVCA Poll.
The last Florida State-Kentucky matchup was a season-opening win for the Seminoles in three sets on Aug. 26, 2011 to begin their NCAA National Semifinal season. Current senior middle blocker Ashley Neff registered 10 blocks in the contest while Florida State totaled 12 altogether.
Long Beach State is one of four schools Florida State has not beaten in a minimum of five tries. The other schools include Texas (0-6), Pepperdine (0-6) and UCLA (0-5).
The Seminoles had two student-athletes named to the preseason All-ACC Team in Neff and outside hitter Olivera Medic. Florida State earned the maximum point total of 196 and was predicted to finish in first place in the ACC for the second consecutive season.
Follow Florida State indoor volleyball on Seminoles.com as well as on the team's official Twitter (@FSU_Volleyball) and Facebook pages (Facebook.com/FSUVolleyball).