September 4, 2009 - by
FSU Sweeps No. 8 Illinois

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LAS CRUCES, NM – The Florida State volleyball team needed just three sets (26-24, 25-22, 25-17) to upset No. 8 Illinois on Friday in the first match of the New Mexico State Tournament in Las Cruces, NM.

After nearly knocking off a top-five Florida squad earlier in the week, the fortune of the Seminoles (4-1) changed as they were able pull off victories against Illinois in the closely-contested first two sets before earning the decisive win in the final game.


The victory marks the first time since the 2002 season that an FSU volleyball team has taken down a ranked opponent. In that season, the Seminoles beat No. 11 North Carolina in five sets.


“The girls played incredible today.  I’m very proud of how hard they are working and they deserve the credit,” head coach Chris Poole said. “Jenna (Romanelli) sprained her ankle before the match started, but Taylor (Wilson) stepped in and did an amazing job. With Jenna being out, that allowed Courtney Zuber to get her first college experience and she did a great job. 


“Our hitters are getting more confident with our offense and our setters are making a lot of very good decisions.”


Against the No. 8 Illini (2-1), junior Stephanie Neville slammed a team-high nine kills while freshman Fatma Yildirim and sophomore Rachael Morgan added seven apiece.


Senior Mira Djuric also contributed six kills and senior middle blockers Jordana Price and Brianna Barry registered four of their own. Senior setter Nikki Baker earned 19 assists while freshman Duygu Duzceler posted 15.


Defensively, junior Taylor Wilson held down the back row with a season-high seven digs. Yildirim also had seven digs and Morgan had four. Price and Morgan led FSU with three blocks each.


“With our win over No. 8 Illinois, we are literally one play away from beating two top-10 teams in a single week,” Poole said. “If we stay healthy and continue to work hard, this team will continue to improve as the season progresses.  We know we have a very tough preseason schedule, but this schedule will help us prepare for the ACC whether we win or lose.”


The Seminoles won’t have much time to celebrate the outcome against Illinois as a matchup with host New Mexico State looms at 9 p.m. EST this evening. The results of that match will be available at tonight.


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