Oct. 7, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 20th-ranked Florida State University volleyball team returns to Tully Gym for two important conference matchups. FSU begins the weekend against Clemson on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m., and follows with a match against Georgia Tech that will be televised by Fox Sports Florida on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“Clemson and Georgia Tech are very dangerous teams,” head coach Chris Poole said. “They’re athletic, very well-coached and both teams went to the NCAA Tournament last year. The lone loss we had last year was against Georgia Tech, and most of their team is returning. We expect it to be a very tough weekend for us. We’ve been so pleased with the attendance we’ve gotten this year and the home court advantage that we have, and we’re telling the fans once again that they need to help us because these are going to be great volleyball matches.”
The Seminoles (12-3, 4-1) own a three-match winning streak over Clemson, and hold a 24-19 edge in a series that dates back to 1981. In their recent 19-match conference winning streak that was snapped last weekend, FSU began its long stretch with a home win over the Tigers (11-5, 2-3) in five sets on Oct. 4, 2009.
Despite leading the ACC with a .257 hitting percentage, FSU has gotten more defensive in recent weeks. Over its last three matches, FSU has garnered block totals of 19, 13 and 12, as middle blockers Sareea Freeman and Lauren Young have shouldered the front-line effort.
In last weekend’s contest at North Carolina, Freeman recorded a career-high 12 blocks to go along with 10 kills for her first-ever double-double. The following night at N.C. State, Young also amassed 12 blocks and added eight kills in one of the best performances of her career.
Young and Freeman now rank 43rd and 50th, respectively, in blocks per set, according to the latest NCAA rankings.
FSU, which has now been in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll for 21 consecutive weeks, has five players who have registered double-doubles this season. Junior outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic has eight of the team’s 16 double-doubles, while Jekaterina Stepanova owns four, setter Duygu Duzceler has two, setter Patricia Figueiredo owns one and Freeman adds one. Merely halfway through the season, FSU already owns more double-doubles than last season’s Elite Eight squad, which had 15.
Senior libero Jenna Romanelli is also looking to become just the tenth player in school history to record 1,000 career digs. The Lighthouse Point, Fla., native has 918 digs, just 82 shy of the milestone. She also needs just 68 to move into 10th place on FSU’s career list.
The Seminoles’ 12 victories in their first 15 matches have only been achieved in three other years. Last season, FSU got off to a 13-2 start, and also held 13-2 records in 1993 and 1997 under FSU coaching legend Cecile Reynaud, who will serve as a color analyst in the Seminoles’ Sunday matchup on Fox Sports Florida.
Clemson comes to Tallahassee with a recent five-set win at Virginia Tech on Oct. 1. The Tigers fell in their last match at Virginia, 3-2, and also lost in five sets at home to Duke on Sept. 25. In its first conference match of the season, Clemson defeated Georgia Tech, 3-2.
Sophomore middle blocker Alexa Rand is one of Clemson’s top players, averaging an ACC-best 1.51 blocks per set. Fellow sophomore middle blocker Sandra Adeleye is eighth in the conference with 1.10 blocks per set.
Georgia Tech has been a difficult opponent for FSU in years past, owning a 28-11 series advantage. FSU’s lone loss at home last season came against the Yellow Jackets (9-7, 2-3) in five sets.
Georgia Tech also defeated Virginia Tech in five sets, and defeated Virginia on Oct. 1. The Yellow Jackets also have a win over in-state rival Georgia, and lost to common opponent Kansas State in three sets on Sept. 4.
Yellow Jacket sophomore Monique Mead leads the ACC with 4.34 kills per set, and is also the conference leader with 313.5 points.