August 31, 2006 - by
Florida State Volleyball Opens Home Slate With FSU Invitational

Aug. 31, 2006

FSU Volleyball Plays Hosts To FSU Invitational
Friday-Saturday, September 1-2
Lucy McDaniel Court at Tully Gym
Tallahassee, Fla.

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Link to Live Video/Audio Broadcasts

Vs. Stetson (0-3) GameTracker
Friday, Sept. 1 • 7 p.m. – Streaming Video
Home: 0-0
Away: 0-1
Neutral: 0-2

Vs. South Alabama (2-0) GameTracker
Saturday, Sept. 2 • 10 a.m.  – Streaming Audio
Home: 0-0
Away: 0-1
Neutral: 0-1

Vs. Eastern Illinois (1-0) GameTracker
Saturday, Sept. 2 • 7 a.m. – Streaming Audio
Home: 0-0
Away: 0-1
Neutral: 0-0

Dig, Set, Spike (What You Need To Know):
• After opening the 2006 campaign on the road with a pair of victories, the Florida State volleyball team will play host to the FSU Invitational, September 1-2. Friday’s match can be seen through live streaming video at Both of Saturday’s matches will be carried on internet radio, also available at

• The Seminoles are a perfect 4-0 in home openers under Todd Kress. Florida State opens with Stetson at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by South Alabama at 10 a.m. Saturday then wrap up with Eastern Illinios at 7 p.m.

• For just the second time under Todd Kress, Florida State has won its first two matches of the season. The last time was 2004 when FSU went 18-11 overall, 9-7 in the ACC.

• Middle blocker Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) produced FSU’s first double-double of the season with 10 kills and 11 digs against Mercer in the 3-0 win over the Bears. • FSU won both its first two matches by a score of 3-0. The last time it won back-to-back 3-0 matches was the 2004 Pepsi Classic when FSU beat Oakland and Eastern Michigan.

• Freshman Malorie Wessel (West Chester, Ohio) had a strong collegiate debut, notching a team-best 21 kills, with a .350 hitting percentage, and five service aces.

Home Schedule Starts For Seminoles With FSU Invitational
After opening the 2006 campaign on the road with a pair of victories, the Florida State volleyball team will play host to the FSU Invitational, September 1-2. Florida State is 9-3 in the FSU Invitational during head coach Todd Kress’ four years. The Seminoles open with Stetson at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by South Alabama at 10 a.m. Saturday then wrap up with Eastern Illinois at 7 p.m. Friday’s match can be seen through live streaming video at Both of Saturday’s matches will be carried on internet radio at

Seminoles Flawless In Home Openers Under Kress
On Friday, Florida State will try to go 5-0 in home openers under Todd Kress having won the first four during his tenure. Since 1980, the Seminoles are 22-4 in home openers and haven’t lost the first match at home since 2001 when they dropped a 3-1 decision to South Florida. Prior to the defeat at the hand of the Bulls, FSU had won eight-straight contests dating back to 1992. The Seminoles’ September 1 start is the second earliest start under Kress — trailing only 2003’s 3-0 win over Florida Atlantic on August 29 — and the sixth earliest in school history.

Pair Of Season-Opening Wins Is A Good Sign For FSU
While it might be a bit premature, the two wins to open the season over Mississippi Valley State and Mercer could be an indication of bigger things to come for the Seminoles. This year is just the second time under Todd Kress that FSU has won its first two matches, joining the 2004 campaign when Florida State opened with five-straight victories on its way to an 18-11 mark. Since 1991 when Florida State joined the ACC, the Seminoles have started the year 2-0 nine times with an average of 19 wins those seasons and only two losing campaigns: 1996 (12-19) and 1995 (11-19).

How Sweep It Is
The Seminoles had the brooms out Macon, Ga., last weekend as they beat Mississippi Valley State and Mercer by identical 3-0 margins. It marked the first time since the 2004 Michigan/Pepsi Classic when FSU beat Oakland and Eastern Michigan that the Seminoles won back-to-back 3-0 matches. The Seminoles hadn’t opened the season with a pair of sweeps since 2000 when they took down Southern Mississippi and Florida Atlantic at home and hadn’t swept a pair on the road since beating Georgia State and South Florida in Gainesville to start 1992. FSU won seven matches by a 3-0 count last season, including the season opener, but the second sweep didn’t come until October 5 (NC State).

Scouting Stetson
As Florida State looks to remain undefeated during the FSU Invitational, Stetson is looking for its first victory of 2006. The Hatters dropped all three of their matches at the UCF Fall Invitational last weekend. Florida State is 2-0 against Stetson, including a 3-0 win in the second match of the 2004 FSU Invitational. The only other meeting was a 3-0 sweep in 1983. Following the win over Mercer last weekend, Todd Kress is 8-0 over the Atlantic Sun and FSU is 29-0 against the conference all time. Outside hitters Beth Slabaugh and Rebecca Orzechowicz are averaging a team-best 2.11 kills per game.

Scouting South Alabama
Florida State and South Alabama had nearly identical starts to their 2006 seasons as both traveled to Macon, Ga., and beat Mississippi Valley State and Mercer. Like the Seminoles, the Jaguars took down MVSU in three games, but they had to go to a fourth set to defeat the host Bears. Florida State holds a 14-0 advantage over South Alabama — including a 3-0 win in 2004 at the FSU Invitational — and has swept 13 of the 14 matches with the 3-1 decision in 1982 being the exception. Outside hitter Jamie Swilley leads the Jaguars at 3.75 kills per game and Summer Pilgrim is averaging 1.62 blocks per game.

Scouting Eastern Illinois
Eastern Illinois didn’t open its season until Tuesday when it went on the road to beat Indiana State in five games. Five different players had 10 or more kills in the match, led by Caitlin Balsam’s 20 winners. Shaina Boylan had a team-best 15 digs. Last season the Panthers went 16-9 overall, 12-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference. This is FSU’s first match with EIU, but the Seminoles are 11-4 against the OVC with all four losses coming to Eastern Kentucky, whom FSU beat 3-0 in the 2003 FSU Classic.

Seminoles Open 2006 Season With 3-0 Win Over Mississippi Valley St.
Florida State got out to early leads in all three games and never looked back as it started the 2006 season by beating Mississippi Valley State 3-0 (30-13, 30-10, 30-18) on Friday in Macon, Ga. Four different players had a team-best nine kills while Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) had 24 assists and tied Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) for the team lead at seven digs. The Seminoles hit .400 — which is higher than any match from 2005 — and the Devilettes’ -.090 percentage is the lowest by an FSU opponent since Stetson hit -.188 in the 2004 FSU Invitational.

Game Two Momentum Swing Gives FSU 3-0 Victory Against Mercer
Down the road it may look like just another victory, but the Seminoles may have gained an important building block in their 3-0 (30-18, 30-28, 30-17) victory over Mercer. FSU rallied from down 18-10 to win game two, 30-28, then breezed through the final game. Freshman Malorie Wessel (West Chester, Ohio) topped all hitters with 12 kills to go along with 38 assists by Zrinka Tomic and 14 digs from Summer Weissing.

Final Season Starts Off Strong For Griffin…
Outside hitter Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) started her final season at Florida State by picking up the Seminoles’ first double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs against Mercer. The Hereford High School product moved three aces closer to the Kristen Frye for the 10th on the FSU career charts as she now has 98 and need 17 to catch Frye. During the two matches she totaled 11 blocks which is nearly a quarter of her 2005 total. She rates eighth in the ACC at 3.17 kpg, fifth with 1.83 blocks per game and sixth at 0.50 aces per game.

…While Wessel’s Career Starts Just As Well
If you turn back the clock back four years, current freshman Malorie Wessel might resemble Sarah Griffin during her rookie campaign. The West Chester, Ohio, native started her career on a high note as she recorded an FSU-best 21 kills in two matches. The Mount Notre Dame product’s jump serve was a big boost to the Seminoles as she recorded five aces, including four against Mercer. The 5-foot-7 Wessel is the ACC leader with 4.20 kpg and 1.00 aces per game.

Makini Thompson Is ACC’s Most Accurate Hitter
Because she is the model of consistency, outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) often goes unnoticed, but’s it was tough to overlook her during the Mississippi Valley State match. The junior put up a career-best .692 (9-of-13) hitting percentage. She came back to hit .304 with four blocks versus Mercer. Through the first weekend, Thompson leads the ACC with a .444 hitting percentage.

Skower Makes Switch Look Easy
The transition from setter to outside hitter was a fairly smooth one for senior Jessica Skower (Boca Raton, Fla.). In only her second match at the position, Skower totaled a career-best nine kills against Mercer. For the two matches she produced six blocks, which ranks second on the team. Skower was one of four players to hit .500 or better in one of the two matches as she banged out a .545 percentage (6-of-11) versus Mercer.

Tomic Has Career Best Performance In Georgia
One of the things Todd Kress looks for in a setter is a player who is more than one dimensional and senior Zrinka Tomic certainly fits that mold. Against Mercer, the 5-foot-11 Tomic dished out a career-high 38 assists, but also established new personal bests with her .545 hitting percentage and six kills to go along with seven digs and two blocks. Tomic is third in the ACC with 12.40 assists per game.

News and Notes:
Malorie Wessel wasn’t the only rookie to have a strong debut. Middle blocker Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) had nine kills and four blocks against Mercer and is among the ACC leaders with her .333 hitting percentage …. After 21 digs last Friday, Summer Weissing needs just 15 for 949 career digs to move pass Alex Sevillano for tenth on the career digs lists … Nine of Florida State’s 15 home matches will be televised on either television or streaming internet video … The Seminoles’ .400 hitting percentage against Mississippi Valley St. is FSU’s highest since hitting .481 agianst NC State (10/17/04).

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