Team nets No. 3 seed in tourney
Published: Monday, December 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 30, 2003 at 11:18 p.m.
When Florida was announced as the third seed in the NCAA women's volleyball tournament Sunday night, there was little reaction from the Gator players who were watching the selection show at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium's Touchdown Terrace.
There wasn't much celebration because that's exactly where Florida expected to be when the 64-team tournament field was announced.
"I think anything other than a three seed would have been a huge surprise," coach Mary Wise said.
No surprises. No problems.
Florida (31-1) will face Georgia Southern (27-9) in the NCAA Tournament's first round at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the O'Connell Center. Also Thursday, Cincinnati will face Central Florida at 5:30 p.m. in the O'Connell Center. Thursday's winners will face off at 7 p.m. Friday in the second round.
"I kind of figured we'd be the third seed," junior setter Lauren Moscovic said. "We held on to that spot in the coaches' poll all season."
This year, the NCAA Tournament will have pre-determined sites for the regionals. Florida has already been selected as one of four host sites, joining Nebraska, Long Beach State and Hawaii.
Therefore, if Florida advances to the regionals, the Gators will be allowed to stay home.
That would be a huge boast for the Gators, who have won 40 straight matches at the O'Connell Center dating back to a Sept. 1, 2001, loss to Arizona.
"I think for us," Moscovic said, "the home court is a huge advantage."
Florida is joined in its region with sixth-seeded Kansas State, No. 11 seed Penn State and No. 14 seed Colorado State.
Undefeated Southern Cal has the tournament's No. 1 seed and an overwhelming favorite to repeat as national champions. Hawaii (32-1) has the tournament's second seed.
Florida lost to Southern Cal 3-0 to open the season. As the No. 3 seed, Florida can't face USC until the championship match.
"I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen," senior Jacque Robinson said. "Sometimes you think one thing is going to happen and the other happens. We like the three seed. It's better than the four."
The Gators clinched their 11th automatic berth in the tournament with a 3-0 win over Arkansas in the SEC Tournament final on Nov. 23. Arkansas is the only other SEC team to be selected to the field. Florida A&M joins Central Florida and the Gators as the only three teams from the state in the field.
This will be Florida's 13th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
You can reach Brandon Zimmerman by calling 374-5051 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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