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GSU Volleyball takes on FSU in 1st round of NCAAs

GSU Volleyball takes on FSU in 1st round of NCAAs

GSU Volleyball takes on FSU in 1st round of NCAAs

    The Georgia Southern Eagles have plenty of confidence heading into the NCAA volleyball tournament, and why shouldn’t they?
    The Eagles (28-5) won regular season tournaments at Ole Miss, South Alabama and a pair at home in Hanner Fieldhouse, and also won the Southern Conference tournament on Nov. 24, in Greenville, S.C.
    They face ACC champion and 16th-ranked Florida State (24-7) today at 5 p.m., in Gainesville, Fla., to open their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2010.
    “This is a goal that we set early in the season — to get past the first round of the tournament — so now we just have to take care of business,” GSU outside hitter Jamie DeRatt said.
    The other game in the Gainesville regional pairs the tournament’s overall No. 6 seed, and the host school Florida, against Jacksonville at 7 p.m.
All GSU’s attention is focused on Florida State.
    “They’re a good ACC school and they’re experienced. It’s a very winnable match for us, and we’ve been telling these kids all year, ‘If you play well, good things will happen.’ If we play well, I like our chances,” first-year GSU coach Dustin Wood said.
    Florida State isn’t looking past the Eagles, either. The Seminoles defeated GSU in the 2010 Gainesville regional, 3-1, before they were eliminated by Florida that season.
    They know they’re not facing the same Georgia Southern team from 2010.
    "We know that Georgia Southern had a great year in their conference," FSU coach Chris Poole said. "They've got a new coach, they're very inspired and we know we're going to have to play well. Anyone you meet in the tournament has had a lot of success or they wouldn't be there. In those situations, you have to step up and you can't take anyone for granted."
    The Eagles are riding a five-game winning streak including SoCon tournament wins over Elon, Appalachian State and Samford
    “I hope they take the experience from last week in the SoCon tournament,” Wood said. “It was a stressful situation and I thought they handled it very well. If they do that this weekend, we’ll be fine.”

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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