The Daily Nole

What to Watch For Wednesday: FSU Soccer Begins NCAA Tourney Run

FSU athletics

Seasons for select Florida State athletic programs will be on the line over the next week as the fall will soon become winter.

As usual, we’ll tell you what to watch for during a busy week across the FSU sports spectrum. Here’s what to keep an eye on until next Wednesday:

1. FSU soccer begins NCAA Tournament run
It’ll be do or die for Florida State soccer’s bid to repeat as national champions. The Seminoles will begin the NCAA Tournament at home on Saturday night against South Alabama. Despite being ousted in the ACC Tournament semifinals by Virginia, FSU managed to secure a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament and will be in Tallahassee until the College Cup.

At 15-5 for the season, the Seminoles are led by senior forward Deyna Castellanos, who leads the team with 32 total points — 11 goals and 10 assists — this season and ranks second all-time at FSU in that category. Freshman Jenna Nighswonger and sophomore Yujie Zhao have each scored five goals for Florida State this season. South Alabama is 16-3-2 and earned the automatic bid for winning the Sun Belt Conference. Senior forward Briana Morris leads the Jaguars with 16 goals and 34 total points.

The teams will meet at 6 p.m. EST on Saturday in a contest that airs on ACC Network Extra. FSU is 10-1 all-time against South Alabama, which includes a 2-0 victory last season in Tallahassee. The winner of Saturday’s contest will move on to face either Brown on Monmouth on Nov. 22.

2. FSU football hosts Alabama State on Senior Day
For Florida State, several seniors will play at Doak Campbell Stadium for the final time on Saturday as the Seminoles host Alabama State at noon EST. With a win, FSU would become bowl-eligible for a 37th time in 38 seasons. FSU is coming off a thrilling 38-31 win at Boston College. The Seminoles used big efforts from quarterbacks James Blackman and Jordan Travis and wide receiver Tamorrion Terry to put up a season-high 524 yards of offense. Defensively, junior safety Hamsah Nasirildeen tallied 22 total tackles — the most for an FSU player since 1968.

Alabama State is 5-4 on the season and actually played UAB tough in the opener, falling 24-19. The Hornets are an FCS team that plays in the SWAC. Quarterback KHA’Darris Davis has passed for 18 touchdowns this season for Alabama State. Defensively, freshman safety Irshaad Davis leads the team with 57 total tackles. The contest will air on Raycom Sports Network.

3. FSU hoops hosts Western Carolina in home opener
After beating rival Florida for a sixth straight time, Florida State will play its home opener on Friday against Western Carolina. The Seminoles are off to a 1-1 start and led by the backcourt duo of senior Trent Forrest and sophomore Devin Vassell, who each average 13.5 points per contest. Western Carolina is off to a 2-1 start. Junior guard Mason Falkner is averaging 21.5 points per game while shooting 53 percent from deep. Forward Carlos Dotson, a senior, is averaging 16 points and 11.5 rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the field. The contest between the Seminoles and Catamounts begins at 7 p.m. EST.

4. FSU cross country participates in NCAA South Regional
After a strong season from both the FSU men’s and women’s cross country teams, the Seminoles will try to advance to the NCAA Championships with another solid showing at the NCAA South Regional on Friday in Tallahassee. Last year, the FSU women finished first at the regional and the men finished second as both advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2014. The FSU women are ranked as the top team in the South Regional while the men are fourth. The top two teams will advance. FSU runners to watch include Kasey Knevelbaard for the men and Jodie Judd, Erin Phelps and Elizabeth Funderburk for the women.

5. The FSU football coaching search
While Florida State looks to become bowl-eligible on Saturday, the program is still conducting its coaching search to replace recently fired Willie Taggart. Odell Haggins improved to 3-0 as an interim head coach with last week’s win over Boston College, but FSU has said that it plans on having a new head man in place by the end of the month. Names tied to the job thus far include former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, Kentucky head coach and former FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Memphis’ Mike Norvell and Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply