Oct. 20, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 19th-ranked Florida State University indoor volleyball team heads back on the road as it faces Maryland on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in College Park, Md. FSU finishes the weekend with a noon contest on Sunday at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
As the Seminoles (15-4, 9-0) approach the midway point of the conference season, they hold a two-match lead in the ACC. On Wednesday evening, FSU was able to separate itself by two losses when second-place North Carolina fell at Duke in three sets. The Blue Devils have sole possession of third place, showing a 7-3 conference record while Miami is fourth with a 6-3 mark in the ACC.
FSU plays the Terrapins (9-12, 3-6) first this weekend. Maryland will look to play more comfortably after being away from home the last two weekends, with all four matches resulting in losses. Maryland shows a five-match losing streak which includes two five-setters versus Virginia Tech and at Clemson. FSU has won six of the past seven meetings between the two teams, but Maryland won its last match versus the Seminoles on its home court in a five-set affair.
The Seminoles and the Golden Eagles (7-13, 3-6) have met 13 times, with FSU owning a 12-1 record in the all-time series. Aside from their current 23-match win streak over N.C. State, FSU’s seven-match win streak over B.C. is its second-longest against an ACC opponent. Last season, B.C. played FSU extremely tough at Power Gym, taking the Seminoles to five sets before FSU needed a late rally to pull off the win.
The Golden Eagles have a talented libero in Brennan Clark, who is second in the ACC with 4.88 digs per set. Maryland setter Remy McBain is sixth in the conference with 9.63 assists per set, while teammate Sarah Harper is sixth with 4.26 digs per set.
Best ACC Starts
FSU’s 9-0 conference record has caught the eye of many not only in the league but around the country. Picked No. 2 in the preseason ACC poll, FSU was expected to have a promising season but perhaps not to the tune of their current undefeated streak.
Conference-wide, it is the best start by any ACC team since Clemson began the conference season 14-0 in 2007. In that same year, Duke also went 9-0 before falling in its 10th ACC match to Clemson.
Fatma Shows off Depth
In last Friday night’s 3-0 victory over Georgia Tech, the play of junior outside hitter Fatma Yildirim sparked the Seminoles off the bench.
The Istanbul, Turkey, native recorded six kills, 11 digs and two blocks in sets two and three against the Yellow Jackets. Her play signified FSU’s ability to have depth at the outside hitter position, an important aspect for any team looking to compete in the NCAA postseason.
Yildirim was an All-ACC freshman performer in 2009 and is known as one of FSU’s best-hitting attackers. Her continued progression as a passer could make the Seminoles’ outside hitting trio that includes Jekaterina Stepanova and Visnja Djurdjevic an even greater force to handle.
FSU Debuts at No. 6 RPI
With the NCAA’s first unveiling of the RPI on Oct. 17, the Seminoles showed up high in the rankings with the No. 6 spot.
The 2011 FSU volleyball team is heading in the right direction toward another landmark season. It shows a 15-4 overall record, which includes four Top-25 RPI victories over Kentucky (13), North Carolina (18), Tulsa (21) and Miami (24). All four of FSU’s losses have come to teams ranked in the Top 17 of the RPI, including No. 5 Northern Iowa in a five-setter, No. 11 Florida, No. 15 Michigan and No. 17 Pepperdine.
The Seminoles have caught the attention of many because of their historic start in ACC play. FSU boasts a 9-0 record against conference competition, by far its best start to the ACC season ever. Prior to the season, FSU had never started better than 5-0 in conference play since joining the ACC in 1991.
Climbing the Coaching Records
After surpassing FSU volleyball coaching legend Cecile Reynaud on the NCAA all-time wins list, head coach Chris Poole is currently at 25th with 639 career victories.
If the Seminoles defeat both Maryland and Boston College on the road this weekend, Poole will be tied with former Northwestern head coach Jerry Angle for 24th with 641 victories.
Former UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski is currently the NCAA’s all-time wins leader with 1,106. He coached for 43 years at UCLA, including two stints from 1966-68 and 1970-2009.
Morgan, Freeman Highlight Splendid Week
Two Seminoles were recognized for their outstanding play in FSU’s sweep of Georgia Tech and Clemson on Oct. 14 and 16, respectively.
Senior right-side hitter Rachael Morgan of the Florida State University indoor volleyball team received her fifth career American Volleyball Scouting Report Player of the Week award. Morgan came up big for the Seminoles in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Clemson, tying a season high with 11 kills and a .409 hitting percentage to move FSU to 9-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 15-4 overall. She added five blocks, including one solo, as well as five digs in a superb all-around effort.
Junior middle blocker Sareea Freeman’s quality performances in last weekend’s 3-0 sweeps over Georgia Tech and Clemson led her to being named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week. The Fresno, Calif., native helped the Seminoles remain unbeaten within the conference after leading the team with 14 total blocks in the two-match stretch. Freeman, who has recorded at least seven blocks in her last four matches, is second on FSU with 82 blocks and 1.30 blocks per set. She has also become a worthy go-to option on offense, posting a .300 hitting percentage and 1.60 kills per set through FSU’s first 19 matches.
Read more notes about the 19th-ranked Seminoles by clicking HERE