Aug. 30, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State University women’s volleyball player Visnja Djurdjevic has been named the Most Valuable Player of the Florida State Invitational, highlighting a group of nine players who are recognized for their outstanding play over the weekend.
The performers named to the FSU Invitational All-Tournament Team include FSU’s Djurdjevic, Stephanie Neville and Lauren Young, New Mexico State’s Kelsey Brennan and Kayleigh Giddens, USF’s Maija Strazdina and Andrea Rodriguez Gomez, FIU’s Andrea Lakovic and Florida A&M’s Pamela Barrera.
The Seminoles, who finished the tournament with an unblemished 3-0 mark, were led by Djurdjevic’s outstanding play at the outside hitter position. The junior from Zitiste, Serbia, led the team in both kills (36) and kills per set (3.60), and finished second in digs. Neville, a senior outside hitter, finished with 13 kills and a .478 hitting percentage against New Mexico State, and ended the tournament with 29 kills and eight blocks.
“Visnja had an amazing tournament,” coach Chris Poole said. “She is a very calm player that has a lot of confidence. She makes other players better with her presence on the court. Steph is going to have to really step up big for us this year and this weekend was a good start. She has gained a lot of confidence in the last 12 months and it showed over the weekend. Lauren is coming off the ACL injury, so she is still not 100 percent, but did a lot of great things over the weekend. Her hitting percentage and blocks per game were amazing.
“We had three or four other players that could have just as easily been named All-Tournament, which is a good place to be for our program. On paper, we knew we had a lot of depth and many options. The players proved that fact this weekend.”
Fifth-year senior Young impressed in her first set of competition in over a year. The middle blocker led FSU with a .688 hitting percentage, 11 blocks and 1.38 blocks per set. Young was 11 of 16 on her kill attempts and did not record a hitting error this weekend.
New Mexico State finished 2-1 at the invitational, defeating FIU and Florida A&M. Junior middle hitter Kelsey Brennan finished with a team-high .418 hitting percentage on 29 kills, while senior outside hitter Giddens led the team with 51 kills, including 19 versus Florida A&M on Saturday.
Outside hitter Strazdina finished with 19 kills and 15 digs in two matches, as USF split its slate last weekend against FSU and Florida A&M. The Riga, Latvia, native registered 12 kills and 10 digs against Florida A&M on Sunday. Middle blocker Rodriguez Gomez finished with 14 kills and a team-best six blocks in two matches, including a 10-kill effort on Sunday.
Middle blocker Lakovic was stellar for the Panthers, who went 1-2 over the weekend. The Bar, Montenegro native finished with 34 kills and a team-leading five blocks in three matches. She recorded 11 kills and four blocks in a season-opening loss to New Mexico State on Friday.
Florida A&M’s Barrera led her squad with a .362 hitting percentage, finishing with 23 kills in 10 sets played. The Lima, Peru, native also added four digs for the Rattlers.