The Daily Nole

FSU Volleyball: Five Things to Know Entering 2017

Andrew Salinero/FSU athletics

The 2016 season ended in neither an ACC nor a national championship for Florida State on the volleyball court, but the campaign was a success nonetheless.

FSU finished with a record of 26-6 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament where it fell in four sets to eventual national champion Stanford. The Seminoles got there with a thrilling victory over rival Florida in the second round in which they rallied from two sets down to win.

Chris Poole enters his 10th season as head coach as FSU gets set to open the 2017 campaign on Friday at Baylor. As the Seminoles get ready to take the court, here are five things to know:

1. FSU returns its leader in kills, assists and digs
One big positive heading into the 2017 season is that Florida State returns its leader for three major statistical categories. Outside hitter Milica Kubura, a senior, returns after leading the Seminoles in kills last year. Junior Brianne Burkert led the team in assists and senior libero Cecilie Woie was the team’s leader in digs. The Seminoles will have to replace Melanie Keil, who led the team in blocks.

2. FSU loses its No. 2 player in each of those categories
While FSU returns its leader in kills, assists and digs, it loses the players who finished second in each of those areas. When it came to kills and digs, Katie Horton finished second in each category. Horton was a first-team All-ACC performer last season and arguably the Seminoles’ most valuable player. When it came to assists, Hailey Luke finished behind Burkert.

3. Seven players are in at least their third season
Of the 14 players listed on the Florida State roster, half of them are in at least their third season on a college volleyball roster. FSU has three seniors, three juniors and one redshirt sophomore. Junior Logan Holanchock and redshirt sophomore Annie Tietjens are each junior college transfers.

4. FSU faces eight teams that reached the NCAA Tournament
Of Florida State’s 29 matches, the Seminoles will face eight teams that made the NCAA Tournament a season ago. The ACC wasn’t particularly strong as only FSU, Pittsburgh and conference champion North Carolina reached the NCAA Tournament. FSU faces Pittsburgh twice this season and hosts North Carolina on Oct. 27. The non-conference however is stacked, as FSU faces Baylor, TCU, Colorado State, Arizona and rival Florida.

5. FSU has made eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances
Entering the 2017 season, Florida State has appeared in the NCAA Tournament in eight straight seasons. FSU has gotten there every year since 2009 and has advanced past the first round each year. The furthest that Florida State has gone during that stretch was the Final Four, where it fell to UCLA back in 2011.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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