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What to Watch For Wednesday: FSU Cross Country Prepares for NCAA Championships, Soccer Continues Repeat Bid

FSU athletics

At least one Florida State athletic team will see its season end this weekend while another hopes to avoid making that number double to two.

While most people have Thanksgiving and the Nov. 30 rivalry football contest with Florida on their minds, a big upcoming week is on the horizon for FSU sports. As is customary for Wednesday, we tell you what to watch for across the FSU athletic spectrum:

1. FSU cross country takes part in NCAA Championships
For the second straight year, Florida State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams will take part in the NCAA Championships. The teams will be in Indiana on Saturday to wrap up their seasons. The FSU women clinched a spot in the championships with a second straight NCAA South Regional title. After finishing fourth, the men had to wait an extra day to learn their fate before being selected as one of 13 teams to earn an at-large bid.

The FSU women are up to No. 9 in this week’s USTFCCCA Poll — the highest they’ve been since 2014. FSU has a deep group of talented runners to include Maudie Skyring, the top finisher for the Seminoles at the regional, Jodie Judd, Erin Phelps and Elizabeth Funderburk. Kasey Knevelbaard has been the top runner for the FSU men for most of the year, but Paul Stafford, Steven Cross and Caleb Pottoroff are all having excellent seasons. The women finished 26th at last season’s NCAA Championships while the men placed 31st.

2. FSU soccer hosts Brown in second round of NCAA Tournament
Florida State soccer is five wins away from repeating as national champions after taking down South Alabama, 2-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night. The top-seeded Seminoles used a pair of goals from Kristen McFarland in the victory and a pair of assists from Yujie Zhao. Deyna Castellanos is the top scorer for FSU. The Seminoles will move on to face Brown on Friday night.

Brown finished No. 16 in the final United Soccer Coaches Poll of the regular season and will come in with a record of 15-1-2 after beating Monmouth on penalty kicks in the first round. The Bears earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Ivy League title. Brown is led by freshman Brittany Raphino, who has 19 total points with eight goals and three assists. The Bears have allowed just six goals all season and have the second-best goals against average in the nation. Friday’s contest begins at 5 p.m. EST and will air on ACC Network Extra. The winner will play again on Sunday against either South Florida or No. 4 seed Washington.

3. FSU volleyball visits No. 2 Pittsburgh
After a solid showing in the non-conference, ACC play hasn’t gone quite as well for Florida State volleyball. The Seminoles, at 17-8 overall and 10-5 in conference, are currently tied for fifth place in the ACC. FSU let one slip away on Sunday against North Carolina, but will have a chance to make a major statement on the road Friday night against No. 2 Pittsburgh. The Panthers beat FSU in four sets when the teams met on Oct. 6. Kayla Lund and Sabrina Starks are two players to watch for Pittsburgh. For the Seminoles, reigning ACC Player of the Year, Payton Caffrey, ranks second in the conference in kills per set while junior Taryn Knuth ranks third in the nation in blocks per set. Friday’s contest begins at 6 p.m. EST and airs on ACC Network.

4. FSU women’s hoops plays at Florida
After a contest at Illinois-Chicago on Saturday, Florida State women’s hoops will look to duplicate the men’s accomplishment and beat Florida in Gainesville. The teams will meet at 6 p.m. EST on Tuesday on SEC Network+. At 4-0 on the young season, Nausia Woolfolk, Nicki Ekhomu and Kiah Gillespie are all averaging in double-figures for FSU. Woolfolk is leading the team, scoring a shade under 17 points per game. Gillespie is the top rebounder at 8.8 per contest. Florida is 4-0 so far this season. Junior Kiara Smith is averaging 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game to lead the Gators.

5. FSU hoops begins Emerald Coast Classic at home
Before heading to Niceville, Florida State men’s hoops will begin the Emerald Coast Classic at home against Chattanooga on Wednesday. After beating rival Florida for a sixth straight season, FSU was forced to rally from 17 points down to top Western Carolina on Friday night. After hosting Saint Francis on Saturday, FSU will play another campus-site game of the Emerald Coast Classic on Monday against Chicago State. The Seminoles head to Niceville to face Tennessee on Nov. 29. Guards Trent Forrest, Devin Vassell and M.J. Walker are all averaging in double-figures scoring for the Seminoles this season.

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

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