Sept. 11, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior outside hitter Stephanie Neville recorded a career-high 16 kills to lead the 17th-ranked Florida State University women’s volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-18, 26-28, 25-15, 25-18) win over Virginia Commonwealth at the Memorial Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
The victory gives the Seminoles (8-1) an undefeated mark at the Kentucky Invitational as well as the tournament championship. FSU defeated both Kansas State and 16th-ranked Kentucky in five sets yesterday before coming away with a four-set win today.
“I’m really proud of the girls this weekend,” coach Chris Poole said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but they are getting better every week. We made plays this weekend that we were not making last weekend. There is still a lot of room for growth with this team. The individual talent is very good and as they learn their role on the team, I expect us to continue improving.”
Neville, a Cambridge, Ontario, native, finished with a .571 hitting percentage to lead the FSU offense. She also added three block assists.
Setter Patricia Figueiredo registered season highs with 24 assists and 10 digs to pick up her first double-double as a Seminole. The Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, native also recorded her first kill of the season.
Senior middle blocker Lauren Young added five kills, while Rachael Morgan chipped in with six kills, five digs and five block assists. Sareea Freeman also had a productive afternoon with five kills and five block assists in three sets.
Young set the tone for the Seminoles in the opening set, as she recorded three kills and two blocks. FSU trailed for much of the set until a block assist by Young and Fatma Yildirim put the Seminoles ahead at 14-13. A service ace by Romanelli extended FSU’s lead to 21-16, and a block by Morgan on Mariel Frey’s attack closed out the set.
After taking a comfortable 19-14 lead in the second set, the Rams (1-8) stormed back to tie the match at 1-1. FSU did not take its first lead in the set until Morgan’s kill put it ahead at 15-14. Later, a kill by Neville put the Seminoles ahead at 24-21, but VCU won seven of the next nine points as Frey’s kill won the set for the Rams. Sophomore Marija Milosavljevic led FSU with four kills and two blocks in the second frame.
“We let a set slip away today against Virginia Commonwealth, but credit VCU for fighting hard the whole match,” Poole added. “We were trying a lot of different things today and some things were successful and some were not. It showed a lot of character for our players to fight back and play so well in sets three and four to finish off the match.”
Neville’s five kills helped the Seminoles to a well-played third set. FSU recorded 15 kills and began much better than its previous two sets. Back-to-back kills by Stepanova and a service ace by Morgan gave the Seminoles a 9-5 lead. FSU later won four consecutive points, capped by a service error from Frey, to take a 19-9 advantage. Stepanova gave the Seminoles the set on a kill that was assisted by Duygu Duzceler, who had 25 assists overall.
FSU never trailed in the fourth and final set. Clinging to an 11-10 lead, Young and Visnja Djurdjevic had consecutive kills, followed by an attack error by VCU’s Ciara Brown. The Seminoles put the Rams away by winning five straights points to take a 23-15 lead, and Neville fittingly ended the match on a kill.
The Kentucky Invitational All-Tournament Team will be announced following the 5 p.m. match between Kentucky and Kansas State.
FSU begins Atlantic Coast Conference play with a road match at rival Miami on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m.