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FSU picked fifth in preseason volleyball poll

lorida State Indoor Volleyball has been predicted to finish fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2021, announced on Friday by the ACC.

Junior middle blocker Emma Clothier, coming off an All-America season last year, was one of 18 selections to the Preseason All-ACC Team.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence with the No. 5 team ranking, and I think that is mostly due to our reputation as a program,” FSU coach Chris Poole said. “We recognize we will be very young. Most teams returned all their starting seniors for this bonus year.  We did not. So we will have the fewest hitters and youngest overall team I’ve had since 1994. 

“We will have six freshmen among our 13 total players. I love our team and we have a ton of potential.  They will improve and get better every week.  It will be a great challenge for the freshmen to play against so many fifth-year seniors this fall.”

Clothier, who is from Carrollton, Texas, returns as one of the nation’s most skilled middle blockers. In her sophomore year, which featured an extended spring season in 2021, she earned honorable mention honors from both the American Volleyball Coaches Association and Volleyball Magazine.

Finishing second last year nationally with a .483 hitting percentage, Clothier was selected to the All-ACC First Team. She also led FSU with 222.0 points as the Seminoles emerged as one of the hottest teams in the conference during the spring.

“Emma had an amazing year last year both in the fall and spring,” Poole added. “We had one of the best middle blocker combos in the country and Emma took on a lot of responsibility. She continues to mature as a player and leader.”

Entering her third season at FSU, Clothier ranks fifth in school history with a .361 career hitting percentage, ninth in career service percentage (.944) and 12th in career blocks per set (1.16). 

With a 13-5 overall record last season and an 8-5 ACC mark, FSU finished fifth in the conference. Fellow 2020 All-ACC Team member Morgan Chacon, a redshirt junior outside hitter, returns as well to bolster the Seminole offense and defense. Experienced setter Lily Tessier comes back, along with middle blocker Marissa Stockman, right-side hitter Sydney Conley and liberos Lauryn Burrows and Caroline Golden.

A top-15 signing class has a chance to get some good experience in their first seasons. The class includes liberos Emery Dupes (Marietta, Ga.) and Addi Hultquist (Tallahassee), setter Ava Pitchford (Norcross, Ga.), outside hitter Audrey Koenig (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and middle blockers Sky Ekes (Sarasota, Fla.) and Khori Louis (Tallahassee).

Pittsburgh was selected as the preseason favorite according to the league’s coaches. The ACC has four Top 25 teams in the AVCA Preseason Poll including No. 9 Pitt, No. 13 Louisville, No. 24 Georgia Tech and No. 25 Notre Dame.

Florida State begins its 2021 season at the Tiger Classic on LSU’s campus. FSU faces Northern Arizona on Friday, Aug. 27, at 4 p.m. ET, followed by a matchup vs. Michigan on Aug. 28 at 3 p.m. ET. The Seminoles finish the weekend playing tournament host LSU on Aug. 29 at 4 p.m. ET on SEC Network+, which is the SEC Network’s digital streaming platform accessible through the ESPN app.

2021 ACC Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll

1.            Pitt (195 points, 13 first-place votes)

2.            Louisville (182 points, two first-place votes)

3.            Georgia Tech (168 points)

4.            Notre Dame (159 points)

5.            Florida State (135 points)

6.            Syracuse (127 points)

7.            North Carolina (113 points)

8.            Miami (106 points)

9.            Duke (96 points)

10.          NC State (92 points)

11.          Clemson (62 points)

12.          Boston College (44 points)

13.          Virginia Tech (38 points)

14.          Wake Forest (33 points)

15.          Virginia (25 points)

2021 ACC Volleyball Preseason All-ACC Team

Camryn Hannah, Clemson, So., RS/OH

Mackenzie Cole, Duke, Sr., DS/L

Emma Clothier, Florida State, Jr., MB

Julia Bergmann, Georgia Tech, Jr., OH

Mariana Brambilla, Georgia Tech, Sr., OH

Anna DeBeer, Louisville, So., OH

Tori Dilfer, Louisville, Gr., S

Aiko Jones, Louisville, Jr., OPP

Anna Stevenson, Louisville, Gr., MB

Savannah Vach, Miami, Jr., S

Melissa Evans, NC State, Gr., OPP

Charley Niego, Notre Dame, Sr., OH

Zoe Nunez, Notre Dame, Sr., S

Serena Gray, Pitt, Sr., MB