TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State indoor volleyball head coach Chris Poole has announced the team’s 2012 schedule that features nine participants from the 2011 NCAA women’s volleyball championship, including Elite Eight opponents Florida, Iowa State and Pepperdine.
“We had a Top Five non-conference schedule for 2009 and 2011 and this fall will be another very competitive schedule,” Poole said. “I'm a big believer that if you want to prepare your team for conference matches, you have to be willing to play strong competition. We want our players to get a mindset of excellence each time they go on the court. The NCAA has also shown that they will reward teams for scheduling a strong non-conference schedule and we want to put our program in a position to obtain a strong seed if we are selected in the NCAA Tournament.
“Our goal is to compete at a high level every year. We realize we cannot control being young, having injuries or players having a bad day, but we can control the quality of players we bring to campus and the quality of competition we play outside our conference matches.”
In what has become customary heading into Poole’s fourth year at FSU, the Seminoles once again face several top-notch opponents in non-conference action. FSU opens the season on the road at 2011 Southeastern Conference champions Tennessee as part of a tournament held in Knoxville, facing the Volunteers on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.
The next day, FSU has a contest against Iowa State at noon on Tennessee’s home floor in what will be a rematch of the single-most significant victory in FSU volleyball history. FSU’s five-set win over the Cyclones on Dec. 10, 2011, in Minneapolis, Minn., propelled the Seminoles to their first-ever berth in the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
FSU finishes the first invitational of the season facing Cincinnati, which is also a rematch of last year’s postseason. The Seminoles defeated the Bearcats in the NCAA second round at Tully Gym in five close sets.
Altogether, the reigning NCAA Final Four participants face nine teams who qualified for the 2011 NCAA women’s volleyball championship. Another opponent who reached the Elite Eight last season was rival Florida, which comes to Tallahassee for a matchup on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at a time to be determined. A third reigning Elite Eight opponent in Pepperdine faces FSU on a neutral floor as part of a tournament hosted by the University of Houston beginning Friday, Sept. 14, at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Rounding out the tournament will be matches against Houston (Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET) and 2011 Sweet 16 participant Ohio State (Sept. 15 at 1:30 p.m. ET).
For the 11th straight year, the Seminoles will host the FSU volleyball invitational to begin the home season. FSU begins the tournament with a matchup against FIU on Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. The following day on Sept. 1, FSU battles Georgia for the first time since 2003 at 11 a.m. at Tully Gym. The Seminoles finish the tournament facing Florida A&M the same day at 5 p.m. at the Al Lawson Center on Florida A&M’s campus.
In what has become a tradition in conference play, FSU will open the ACC portion of its schedule facing state rival Miami on the road on Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. Both teams then square off to end the regular season on Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. in Tallahassee, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving.
In this season’s unbalanced conference schedule, the Seminoles will play 11 road matches and nine home contests, with Georgia Tech and Clemson being the only two ACC schools not coming to Tallahassee in 2012. FSU hosts Wake Forest (Sept. 28), Duke (Sept. 30), North Carolina (Oct. 5), North Carolina State (Oct. 7), Virginia (Oct. 26), Virginia Tech (Oct. 28), Maryland (Nov. 16), Boston College (Nov. 18) and Miami.
FSU is coming off a history-making season in which it finished seventh in both the 2011 ratings percentage index and the final American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll. The Seminoles were the first ACC team to ever make the NCAA women’s volleyball national semifinals, and also earned their second conference championship in the last three seasons.