TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 11th-rated Florida State indoor volleyball team will look to seize a few more opportunities as it travels to Houston, Texas, to compete in the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup this weekend.
The Seminoles (6-1, 0-1) step outside conference play again and begin the weekend schedule with two matches on Friday, Sept. 14. Florida State faces No. 18 Pepperdine at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed by a matchup at tournament host Houston at 8 p.m. ET.
Florida State finishes the four-team field with a match against No. 21 Ohio State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET. Every match of the tournament will take place at the Athletics/Alumni Center in Houston, Texas, and will be shown interactively on CBS GameTracker.
“Right now Pepperdine is No. 18 in the country and Ohio State is No. 21, so it gives us an opportunity to play two more Top 25 teams,” head coach Chris Poole said. “They both are very good teams and have a lot returning from last year. It’s going to be a tough battle for us again, we’ve got to go on the road and play them.”
The Seminoles have enjoyed plenty of success in non-conference play since Poole and his coaching staff arrived in 2008. In that time, Florida State is 46-12 against competition outside the Atlantic Coast Conference. By the end of this weekend’s tournament, the Seminoles hope to have two more nationally-ranked victories to bring the total to four this season.
Like Florida State’s first tournament of the season, the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup’s four-team field features three Top 25 teams. The Seminoles were victorious in their first test of the year at the Comcast Lady Vol Classic, defeating then-No. 15 Tennessee, No. 10 Iowa State and Cincinnati en route to the title.
Florida State is coming off its first loss of the season at the hands of Miami last Friday evening, falling 3-1 on the road. The team’s first defeat of the year makes them eager to get back into action and take advantage of a tremendous opportunity this weekend.
“I think our girls are excited to get back on the court. They didn’t feel too good about themselves on Friday night,” Poole added. “Hopefully we can come back playing much better knowing it’s great competition.”
The Seminoles will rely on their nationally-acclaimed blocking to power them past the tournament competition this weekend. Junior middle blocker Ashley Neff currently leads the country with 1.72 blocks per set, and is second in the ACC with a .462 hitting percentage.
Senior middle blocker Sareea Freeman is first in the conference with a .480 attack percentage, but both her and Neff haven’t qualified by NCAA standards just yet due to not reaching the minimum for attacks per set.
The Waves (6-2) are 5-0 all-time against the Seminoles, making them one of four teams to hold an undefeated record against Florida State with a minimum of five meetings. Jazmine Orozco leads the team with 96 kills while setter Kellie Woolever is averaging 11.11 assists per set. Pepperdine owns a 3-0 win over then-No. 7 Illinois.
Pepperdine and Florida State faced last season on a neutral court, with the Waves winning 3-1. Pepperdine is one of three Elite Eight opponents from last season on Florida State’s regular-season schedule.
The Buckeyes (8-1) are attacking at a .284 clip and have two hitters with over 100 kills in Mari Hole (145) and Emily Danks (118). Ohio State is 1-0 all-time against Florida State as both teams last faced on Sept. 14, 1981. The Buckeyes own a victory over Dayton, winning in five sets on Sept. 7.
Tournament host Houston (1-6) is led by Katie Norris’ 108 kills, as she is also averaging four kills per set. Natalie Keck leads the Cougars with four digs per set.