By Scott Carswell Jr.
The national champs! The FSU softball team has one it’s first national championship in program history. It was also the first by an ACC program. During the postseason the team became to be known as the ‘cardiac kids’. The Seminoles were a perfect 6-0 in elimination games. During their postseason run the Seminoles came back to win 6 of the 16 games that they played. The team was lead was by Meghan King, Jesse Warren and several others. Meghan King pitched a total of 37 1/3 innings while giving up only one earned run. Her ERA in Oklahoma City was a World Series record 0.2. Jessie Warren was named the WCWS Tournament MVP for tying the record for most hits in a World Series with 13.
The clutch post season moments started in the ACC championship game when catcher Anna Shelnutt hit a three run homerun in walk off fashion to bring the ACC tournament title back to Tallahassee for the fifth time in a row.
I know football games can’t be won in the spring, but in my view, new FSU coach Willie Taggart had a solid off-season.
Jimbo Fisher had a few recruits lined up, but with his sudden departure a couple jumped ship. Due to this, FSU’s recruiting rankings dropped into the mid 60s. With the new early signing period looming the administration had to move fast. FSU needed a coach that could recruit the state of Florida and Athletic Director Stan Wilcox and President John Thrasher did just that when they hired Willie Taggart from Oregon.
Taggart immediately hit the recruiting trail and brought the once horrendous ratings up to No. 11 in the country. Then he and his assistants got to work getting involved in the Florida State community by cheering on the school’s other sports at the games and on social media and bringing old coaches and players back for the spring game. The local community was so intrigued that the spring game had a program record attendance of over 60,000 people.
Taggart may have won the off-season, but the first real test comes in the opener as the season starts September 3rd on Labor Day night vs Virginia Tech.
The men’s tennis team had a great regular-season and ended up posting a 28-5 record including beating No. 1 Wake Forest in Tallahassee. The regular season was good enough to earn the right to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. After beating Alabama State in the first round the Seminoles fell to Alabama in the second round.
In singles action, redshirt senior Lucas Poullian was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The women’s tennis team had a solid regular-season record that was good enough to put them in the NCAA tournament. The Lady ‘Noles had to go to Gainesville for the first two rounds. After beating North Florida, the Seminoles narrowly defeated the rival Gators to advance to the sweet sixteen. After defeating Tulsa the Seminoles advanced to Elite Eight for the first time in program history. The record-breaking season would come to an end there, as they fell to Vanderbilt 4-0.
In the singles tournament sophomore Carla Touly was also eliminated the round of 32.
The women’s basketball team had one of the best regular seasons in school history. FSU finished the regular season at and in the conference. Good for the 3 seed in the always-tough ACC Tournament. FSU went 1-1 in the ACC Tournament besting Miami and losing to eventual national champions Norte dame. The Seminoles were rewarded a three seed in the NCAA tournament. The Lady ‘Noles ended up destroying Arkansas Little Rock 91-49. Florida State’s great season came to an early demise as they fell to Buffalo 86-65. Forward Shakayla Thomas was taken 23rd overall by the Los Angeles Sparks and guard Imani Wright was taken 26th overall by the Phoenix Mercury.
The baseball team entered the year with high hopes but those expectations were soon dampened due to early season injuries to the pitching staff. FSU used the easy part of the schedule to gather up wins and give the newcomers experience. Towards the end of the season on May 5 coach Mike Martin picked up his 1976 career victory making him the winningest coach in D1 college baseball history.
FSU finished 6th in the ACC but the Seminoles ran through some tough competition to win the ACC tournament for the third time in the last four years. This enabled them to receive a national seed in the NCAA tournament. The excitement was short-lived as they drop the opener to Sanford 8-7.
The next day it looked like the Seminoles would bounce back as they took a 2-0 lead into the ninth-inning. But then the rains came which brought a 2 1/2 hour rain delay. In a controversial move Martin decided to stick with his pitcher who gave up a three run homerun to end the season. Some thought that might be Martin’s last game as coach but it was announced just last week that he would be back for one more season.
Cal Raleigh, Jackson Lueck, Tyler Holton, Cole Sands, Andrew Karp, Rhett Aplin and Cobi Johnson were the seven Seminoles selected in the MLB draft.
The men’s basketball team raced out to and 11-1 record in the nonconference schedule, along the way they beat the rival Gators. The only loss was a narrow one to Oklahoma State. The ACC schedule was very up and down as the Seminoles knocked off North Carolina and Miami but lost to inferior teams like Boston College and suffered a couple losing streaks. FSU’s 9-9 record in the conference seemed like enough to make it into the NCAA tournament. After getting demolished by Louisville in the first round of the ACC tournament FSU fans were a little bit uneasy going into selection Sunday.
An at-large bid was given to Florida State and they were paired with Missouri in the first round as a 9 seed. The ‘Noles used it’s pressuring defense to hold Missouri to just 54 points. After beating Missouri the Seminoles would face Xavier who ended the Seminoles season last year. The ‘Noles were down by 12 in the second half but used a late surge to take the lead with just a minute to go. 16. With the 75-70 victory the Seminoles would now face last year’s runner-up, Gonzaga. The Seminoles pressuring defense gave Gonzaga problems as well and after a slow start FSU cruised to a victory. Florida State was now on the doorstep of making the programs second Final Four appearance. The Seminoles were not able to muster much offense until late in the game which was not enough as they fell to Michigan. The season was tied for the second-best finish in school history.
The beach volleyball team won the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association Championship for the third consecutive year. The garnet and gold made a deep run in the NCAA tournament and made it to the finals in Gulf Shores, Alabama but fell to UCLA.
The men’s outdoor track and field team won the ACC title for the 12th time in school history. The Seminoles could not crack the top 10 at the NCAA championships as they finished 11th.
The men’s indoor track and field team finished 2nd at the ACC championships and 21st at the NCAA championships.
The women’s outdoor track and field team finished third in the ACC behind Miami and Virginia Tech. The lady ‘Noles finished tied for 14th at the NCAA championships.
The women’s indoor track and field team finished 2nd at ACC championships and 26th at the NCAA championships.
The men’s golf team finished eighth at the ACC championships and did not make it to the NCAA tournament. The Seminoles finished sixth in the Oklahoma region of the NCAA tournament, which was not enough for them to advance.
The women’s golf team had a 2nd place finish at the ACC championships. The lady ‘Noles finished tied for 12th at the NCAA championships. Morgane Metraux (-5) finished tied for fifth in the individual tournament.