TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The sixth-rated Florida State indoor volleyball team prepares for a tough test against rival Miami in an ESPNU-televised matchup on Friday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the James L. Knight Sports Complex in Coral Gables, Fla.
Friday’s match can be seen nationwide on ESPNU, and all fans who own the WatchESPN app can view the match as well on their tablets. The match will be simultaneously streamed on ESPN3.com but will be blacked out for all of the east coast. For a map on the available viewing areas on ESPN3, visit Facebook.com/FSUVolleyball.
The live broadcast on ESPNU features Pam Ward on play-by-play while former University of Southern California volleyball player Kelli Tennant provides color analysis.
The Seminoles (6-0) are off to one of their better starts in school history. The 6-0 beginning to the season is the fifth best start by Florida State as well as the best since 2000. A victory over Miami would tie the 2000 and 1998 squads for the third best start in school history.
“It’s always excited getting ready to play in the ACC,” head coach Chris Poole said. “We know it’s a great conference and I think it’s probably the best it’s ever been particularly on the top half. Miami is a great challenge for us – they’ve got a great team, a great coach, and they’re always very athletic. They’ve always given us fits and it has always been a competitive match. I’d expect the same on Friday night.”
Both teams will face each other in a conference-opening match for the seventh consecutive season. Last year, Florida State defeated then-No. 20 Miami in the ACC opener by a 3-0 score behind the play of junior Elise Walch. The Stuart, Fla., native delivered 12 kills in 17 attacks and recorded a .607 hitting percentage. She earned ACC Player of the Week honors for her performance. The 3-0 victory in Tallahassee was also aired on ESPNU.
The rivalry between Miami and Florida State has been very competitive in recent seasons. Since Poole arrived in 2008, he owns a winning record against every team with the exception of Miami. Both teams have a head-to-head record of 4-4 in that time span.
Overall, Florida State leads the series 20-16-1, but is 5-5 all-time when playing at Miami. The Hurricanes (6-1) defeated the Seminoles last season to end the regular season, winning over Florida State in four sets.
The Seminoles, who have been guided by the play of junior middle blocker Ashley Neff, are ranked in the Top 10 of the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll for the first time ever. In fact, Florida State becomes just the second ACC team to earn a Top 10 ranking as Georgia Tech spent 13 weeks in the Top 10 in 2003.
Also sparking good play from the Seminoles is junior outside hitter Olivera Medic, who has recovered from a preseason abdominal strain to bolster the team’s attack. Medic, from Subotica, Serbia, has 48 kills, a .381 hitting percentage and 2.17 digs per set. She is the only Seminole to be named to the all-tournament team in both tournaments this year.
The Hurricanes are off to another good start, showing wins over Wofford, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Samford, Oregon State and Presbyterian. Junior right-side hitter and Tallahassee native Alex Johnson is second on the team with 79 kills and a .332 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Taylor Hollins leads Miami with 104 kills, four kills per set and averages 3.27 digs per set.
Florida State’s first television appearance of the season on Friday will be one of seven scheduled for the regular season. The Seminoles and Hurricanes finish the regular season with a contest in Tallahassee that will be streamed on ESPN3.com on Nov. 23.