Champaign, IL - For the third time in school history, the 16th ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team is set for an NCAA Regional Championship, as they will face Wisconsin (25-9) at 4 p.m. (CT) on Friday in the Sweet 16 Round. The Seminoles, (26-7) join three other Big Ten Teams in the Champaign Regional.
“It is, hopefully, going to be some great volleyball and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to be here and represent the ACC,” head coach Chris Poole said. “We know that certainly the Big Ten is a great conference they have done a great job all year. We expect all the teams we meet to be very good.”
The match with the 12th-seeded Badgers will be the first of two in the Champaign Regional on Friday night as Illinois and Purdue will battle at 6 p.m. at the State Farm Center on the campus of the University of Illinois.
“We teach the girls that when its game time you look across the net and just see jerseys,” Poole said. “You don’t see faces or worry about names, you’re just trying to play at the highest level you can. Certainly I think that our players are playing with a lot of confidence right now. There’s no way of knowing how everyone is going to respond. We have pretty good balance offensively. I think some things we’re talked about are consistency, trying to cut down on errors, trying not to let things overwhelm us. Knowing how well Wisconsin has done this year you can’t just say ‘well, we’ve got an advantage in this part of the game.’ They have great middles, a great setter, they have great defense, outsides that are very good, great passing, so there’s not a true weakness to them. It’s going to be which team is going to be more consistent starting off. It’s going to be real important to keep our heads, not panic, and recover.”
The winners of both matches will move on to play at 5:30 p.m. (CT) on Saturday night, with hopes of advancing to the NCAA Volleyball Championships in Seattle, Wash. next weekend.
In its school record setting fifth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Florida State found its way into the Sweet 16 after defeating Georgia Southern (3-0) in the first round before pulling off a shocking upset over fifth-seeded Florida in the Gainesville Sub-Regional last weekend.
Sophomore outside hitter Nicole Walch is hitting .306 percent throughout the NCAA Tournament on 37 kills. Walch led the Seminole attack and hit for double-double figures in each of those matches.
Wisconsin found its way into its 11th Sweet 16 appearance in program history after a pair of 3-0 defeats over Milwaukee and California.
Florida State has never face Wisconsin in school history, however senior right side hitter Elise Walch spent her freshman season as a member of the Badger squad, where she hit 2.56 kills per set.
“I’m excited to see some former teammates,” Elise Walch said. “They’ve got a great program there. But for game time, it’s just like any other game and it’s any other team on the other side of the net and we’re going to play our game.
Friday’s matches will be streamed live through ESPN3.com and Saturday’s Regional Final will be aired on ESPNU.
Live stats and other information can be found to the tournament website.