Aug. 28, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Seminoles open the 2002 volleyball season as they travel to Normal, Ill., on August 30th to take part in the Illinois State Tournament at Redbird Arena. Joining Florida State in the tournament will be the host-team Illinois State, Alabama and Marshall.
"The Illinois State Tournament will be a great opening weekend for us," said head coach Todd Kress. "I think it will pose many challenges as well as opportunities."
In Florida State's first match of the tournament Friday, August 30th at 7:00 p.m., the Seminoles will face the Redbirds of Illinois State. Illinois State is predicted to finish fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference. This will be the fifth meeting between the two schools; the last coming in 1989 when the Seminoles defeated the Redbirds twice by scores of 3-2 and 3-1. Florida State leads the all-time series by a record of 4-1.
The Seminoles will return to Redbird Arena Saturday, August 31st at 10:00 a.m. to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama, a team that Florida State faced in the spring, is predicted to finish second in the SEC Western Division. The last time the two teams met during the regular season was in 2000 when the Seminoles defeated the Crimson Tide by a score of 3-2. The all-time series record between the schools is tied at 10.
Later that afternoon, Florida State will return to the court to face Marshall at 5:00 p.m. In a pre-season poll, Marshall was predicted to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference's Eastern Division. This will be the first meeting between the Seminoles and the Thundering Herd.
"We couldn't be in a better situation for our opening weekend," said Kress. "The teams in the tournament will present us with many challenges. Alabama is going to be a top team in the SEC, Illinois State is traditionally one of the stronger teams in the MVC and Marshall has a new coach that will bring a new look to that program."
The trip to Illinois State will be a homecoming for three Seminoles, as Jen Anderson, Kameelah Omar and Trenesha Biggers return to their home state of Illinois. The players are excited about the trip home and the opportunity to play at Redbird Arena. As young volleyball players growing up in Illinios, they all dreamed of one day playing on the same court as the Redbirds.
"Going home to Illinois is like a dream come true," said Anderson. "I am excited about the opportunity to play on the very same court where I used to watch Illinois State play. With my friends and family there, I think the Seminoles will have a lot of fan support and be successful."