Nov. 10, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 17th-ranked Florida State University indoor volleyball team begins its regular-season ending five-match road trip on Friday, Nov. 11, at Wake Forest at 7 p.m. The weekend trip wraps up on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Duke.
FSU no longer will be able to enjoy the friendly confines of Tully Gym, where it finished the regular season with a 12-0 home record. The Seminoles (21-4, 15-0), however, sport an 8-1 record on the road and have geared up their defense all season to the tune of 3.72 blocks per set in matches away from Tallahassee.
One of the Seminoles’ toughest matches of the season came against Wake Forest on Oct. 2 at home. FSU won the contest in five sets, including a deciding 15-9 win in the last frame as the Demon Deacons (7-18, 4-11) were relentless the entire match. FSU was held to a .188 hitting percentage and was fortunate to get an enormous spark from junior middle blocker Marija Milosavljevic off the bench after she produced a career-high 12 blocks.
Wake Forest is currently 4-5 at home this season and recently defeated Virginia Tech and Virginia in five-set matches. Junior Andrea Beck, who recorded 13 kills and a .303 hitting percentage against FSU in the first match, is seventh in the ACC with a .349 hitting percentage. Senior Kadija Fornah, one of the top athletes in the conference, is eighth in the ACC averaging 3.81 points per set.
The Seminoles swept Duke in three sets on Sept. 30 in Tallahassee, but the Blue Devils (17-7, 11-4) have found their groove ever since. Since falling to FSU, Duke is 9-2 and is 46th in the latest RPI. The Blue Devils are tied with Tobacco Road rival North Carolina for third-place in the latest conference standings, with each showing an 11-4 ACC record.
FSU delivered a .318 hitting percentage against Duke in its first matchup of the year. Elise Walch recorded 12 kills and a .611 attack percentage while Visnja Djurdjevic and Jekaterina Stepanova added 10 put-downs apiece.
For Conference History
Florida State’s 15-0 record in the ACC stands as not only the best mark in the conference this season, but one of the best in the conference’s history.
Should FSU accomplish the difficult task of getting two more wins this weekend against Wake Forest and Duke, it would be the first team in ACC history to have a 17-0 conference record. Beginning in 1996, the ACC adopted a 16-match regular season format in conference play before expanding it to 22 matches from 2005-07 because of the inclusion of new members. Since 2008, the conference has used its current format of 20 matches.
The Seminoles are trying to become the first team to go 16-0 since Georgia Tech achieved the feat in 2004 as conference regular season champions. Maryland finished the 1996 and 1997 seasons with 16-0 records in the ACC as well.
The Seminoles have done everything they can possibly do to inch closer to their third ACC championship. While the scenarios for clinching the conference crown can be somewhat complicated, the main thing to know is FSU’s magic number in the final five matches is three as of Thursday afternoon.
With second-place Miami trailing the Seminoles by three matches (and owning a loss to FSU), if FSU can win three of its next five matches it will clinch its third ACC championship. North Carolina and Duke are tied for third place respectively and both show 11-4 conference records.
While FSU plays Duke on Sunday afternoon, it could use a little help from the Blue Devils too. Duke and Miami play at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and if the Blue Devils knock off the Hurricanes FSU’s magic number is reduced to two.
FSU and Miami play each other in Coral Gables, Fla., in the regular-season finale on Nov. 26 at 5 p.m.
Poole Five From 100
FSU head coach Chris Poole is going after another milestone in his fourth season at FSU. Since arriving in Tallahassee in 2008, Poole has guided the Seminoles to 95 victories and sits just five shy of his 100th win in the Garnet and Gold.
Since coming to FSU, Poole has already accomplished his share of milestones after spending his first 21 seasons in The Razorback State. In 2009, Poole attained his 600th win on Dec. 5 following an NCAA First Round win over Alabama A&M. On Oct. 7 of this season, FSU’s 3-1 victory over North Carolina gave Poole his 636th win to move past FSU coaching legend Cecile Reynaud in all-time victories.
The Seminoles begin the weekend with a 15-match win streak, all within conference play. The winning stretch is one of the longest in program history.
FSU’s 15 straight wins ties the 1983 team’s streak for fourth-longest in school history. The 1989 squad is third with 17 consecutive wins, while the second-longest is 19 straight victories in 2009. The school record for the longest win streak is 21 matches in 1981.