From The Georgianne…..
Georgia Southern will be traveling to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend to go up against No. 10 Florida, Idaho, and Oklahoma. Oklahoma received 114 votes but just missed being in the Top 25. With three wins against three highly competitive teams this tournament, Ga. Southern will definitely be turning heads not only in the Sun Belt Conference but in the NCAA as a whole.
Florida made it to the 2013 NCAA Tournament, making it to the second round before losing to Florida State who also knocked out the Eagles just a round earlier. If the Eagles plan on making a repeat visit to the NCAA tournament, this match against against the Gators can definitely make a statement with a win. This win won’t come easily, however, considering Florida went 28-4 (16-2) against a tough SEC schedule. Florida also managed to shut out 21 of its opponents three sets to none. However, Florida will not be without faults after losing Chloe Mann who led the team in not only kills with 369, hitting percentage with 50.6 and second in blocks with 91.Florida (August 29th, 12:00 p.m.)
Oklahoma (August 29th, 5:30 p.m.)
Oklahoma has made it to the NCAA Tournament for the past five seasons in a row and will definitely prove to be a tough opponent to Ga. Southern. Going 24-8 (11-5) last season while like Florida getting knocked out in the second round. If Ga. Southern truly wants to make a name for itself this first weekend, a win against both Florida and Oklahoma would be huge. What’s interesting about the Sooners is that they win or lose a lot of their matches by the third set. They won 11 out of their 24 wins last season by the third set, along with losing 6 out of their total 8 losses by the third set. If the Eagles can come out quickly and win the first set, odds are that they will finish and win the match. Another thing Oklahoma has in common with Florida is losing its star player in Sallie McLaurin, who led the team last season in kills, blocks, and was second in hitting percentage.
Idaho (August 30th, 12:00 p.m.)
Idaho didn’t make it to the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be ignored in the Active Ankle Challenge. The Vandals finished 19-11(11-5) in 2013, but this year they are also looking to make a name for themselves and they were also chosen third in the Big Sky Conference Preseason Poll with two first place votes. They also have had eleven straight winning seasons starting in 2013. However, they are not as dominant as Florida considering they’ve only won seven matches in three sets, while their opponents have beaten them four times in three sets. However, both the leader and second place in kills for their team are returning, which means that as long as they play as good as they did last season, Idaho will be a team to watch out for.