TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The eighth-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team hosts the annual Florida State Invitational beginning Friday, Aug. 31, at Tully Gym.
FSU begins its home slate with FIU Friday evening at 6:30 p.m., then hosts Georgia on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Seminoles (3-0) wrap up the FSU Invitational with an away match at cross-town foe Florida A&M on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Three of this weekend’s matches will take place at Tully Gym, which includes the opening match of the invitational between Georgia and FIU at 11 a.m. on Friday. The other three matches will be hosted by Florida A&M.
The Seminoles enter the upcoming weekend with even more notoriety after putting forth one of the more impressive showings across the country last weekend. Led by the play of ACC Player of the Week and tournament MVP Ashley Neff, Florida State knocked off No. 15 Tennessee, No. 12 Iowa State and defending BIG EAST champion Cincinnati in Knoxville, Tenn.
A welcomed sight to the auspicious beginning was not only the steady play of FSU’s core returnees, but also the fine play of several newcomers including junior outside hitter Olivera Medic, freshman outside hitter Nicole Walch and freshman libero Laura Dadowski.
Medic, who hails from Subotica, Serbia, made herself known after hammering 19 kills in a five-set win over Iowa State. She finished the tournament with 24 kills, a .442 hitting percentage and 21 digs.
Walch showed her potential in FSU’s final win of the tournament over Cincinnati, amassing a team-best eight kills in the 3-0 sweep. Dadowski put together several nice serves that gave opponents fits in their passing game.
“The core returning players did such a great job all weekend long, so I think their leadership is important to the team,” head coach Chris Poole said. “The newcomers that came in did great. I think we were worried a little bit about how they would respond to that level of play, but everyone that played did great.”
This weekend the Seminoles turn their attention to three opponents that bring a different style of play. FSU and FIU last met in 2010 when the Seminoles earned a 3-0 win. Current senior Duygu Duzceler posted a double-double with 22 assists and 10 digs in that match.
FIU is 1-2 this season, defeating Florida A&M at the Campus USA Credit Union Invite and falling to No. 18 Florida and Florida Gulf Coast.
The Seminoles are 11-10 all-time against Georgia, who is 3-0 with wins over Georgia Southern, Troy and Georgia State. FSU leads its all-time series with Florida A&M 22-0.
“The style of play for these teams coming in will be dangerous,” Poole added. “There will be better ball control, better teams defensively, the rallies will be a little longer. Our discipline has to be greater against teams like this. We see this as an opportunity to get better as a program this weekend.”
FSU is looking to sweep the invitational field and start 6-0 for the first time since 2000, when the Seminoles got off to a 7-0 start. Following this weekend’s tournament, Florida State hosts the Slovenia Junior National Team in an exhibition on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. at Tully Gym.
Fans are to be reminded that Saturday’s 11 a.m. match versus Georgia, which is the same day as FSU football’s season opener against Murray State, will have different parking regulations. Free parking will be available at the Woodward Avenue Parking Garage located above the FSU Bookstore and adjacent to the Oglesby Student Union.
Due to the FSU-Murray State football game, the normal parking lots surrounding Tully Gym will be blocked off on Sept. 1.