Nov. 26, 2011
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 21st-ranked Florida State University indoor volleyball team fell to rival and 25th-ranked Miami, 3-1 (16-25, 31-33, 25-21, 25-22), on Saturday evening in its final regular-season match at the James L. Knight Sports Complex.
The Seminoles (24-6, 18-2) endured just their second loss in the Atlantic Coast Conference, tying a season-low with four blocks while the Hurricanes (25-4, 16-4) were ignited by a .303 hitting percentage. Miami is the first ACC opponent of the season to hit above .300 against FSU, with the previous high being .250 in the Seminoles’ other conference loss at Duke on Nov. 13.
Senior Visnja Djurdjevic led FSU, which recorded a .277 hitting percentage in the contest. Djurdjevic produced her 12th double-double of the year, amassing 16 kills, a .375 hitting percentage and 18 digs. She has recorded five 18-dig performances in her senior year.
Fellow senior Jekaterina Stepanova had her 14th double-double of the year, recording a season-high 20 digs and adding 10 kills.
Senior right-side hitter Rachael Morgan also had a strong performance, tying her season-high with 13 kills and hitting .333. Junior middle blocker Sareea Freeman continues to excel offensively, finishing with 14 kills and a .565 hitting percentage. Sophomore middle blocker Ashley Neff added 10 kills and a .348 hitting percentage for FSU.
“A match like tonight will help us prepare for the post season,” head coach Chris Poole said. “We showed a lot of character in what was a very hostile environment.”
Freshman libero Katie Mosher contributed with 21 digs, moving up the school’s single-season digs list as she now shows 498 for the year and sits in fourth place. She needs just two digs to also become the fourth Seminole to reach 500 digs in one season, and is 16 digs shy of breaking the school record.
Miami’s Lane Carico, the ACC Player of the Year, doomed FSU all night with 29 kills and 17 digs. Carico’s kill total is the highest of any FSU opponent this season. Miami also put together 11 blocks.
FSU played behind the entire first set as it fell to Miami to open the match. A quick 9-4 deficit prevented the Seminoles from getting within striking distance as the Hurricanes distanced their opening set lead throughout. Miami registered 16 kills in the set and committed just two attack errors, led by Carico’s five kills.
The second set was extremely competitive, as Miami won in extra time by a 33-31 count. FSU recorded 27 kills and only four attack errors in the set, while Wickstrom paced the Seminoles in the frame with 13 assists. FSU got behind once again in the early going, trailing 8-2, but used a couple runs to keep the set close and even took the lead at 19-18 on a kill from Elise Walch. Both teams began to go back and forth with points until the Seminoles reached a 24-22 advantage on a kill from Morgan. Both teams had a bevy of set points lined up but could not close out the set until Carico recorded a kill following Miami’s 32-31 advantage.
Freeman and Djurdjevic picked up five kills apiece to give FSU a win in the third set. FSU picked up its play offensively and kept a consistent lead until Carico’s kill and service ace put Miami ahead at 16-14. However, FSU did not relent and kept pace with Miami, winning the set after stringing together four consecutive points which included a kill by Djurdjevic, a block by Morgan and Neff and a Miami attack error on Emani Sims. The Seminoles, however, were unable to capitalize in the fourth frame.
As the automatic qualifier out of the ACC, FSU will await its postseason tournament seeding as the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show airs on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. Because of its successful regular season and its high-rated RPI at No. 8, FSU may have an opportunity to earn a national seed and host the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship.