Dec. 5, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State head volleyball coach Chris Poole couldn’t have asked for a better time to earn his 600th career win.
The No. 12 Seminoles’ second-year coach reached the milestone Saturday afternoon as his third-seeded team swept Alabama A&M (25-10, 25-19, 25-10) in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Tully Gym to move on to Sunday’s second round game.
The straight-sets win is FSU’s (29-2) 16th sweep of the season and is the second NCAA Tournament victory in program history. At 2-10 all-time in the Big Dance, it is also the Seminoles’ first ever NCAA Tournament win in Tallahassee.
“I certainly was pleased the way we played most of the match,” said Poole, who became the 16th active Division I coach to reach 600 victories. “We’ve really have worked hard the last few weeks to try to limit our errors as much as possible and to go three sets and only have seven hitting errors is very good. We also limited the amount of serving errors we had and that’s something else that we’ve really been trying to focus on is to really play in more control on our side of the net.”
Senior Jordana Price paced the balanced FSU attack against the Bulldogs (22-13) with seven kills. She also had a team-best six total blocks.
Senior Mira Djuric and freshman Fatma Yildirim had six kills apiece. Yildirim also had eight digs and Djuric posted an impressive five service aces. Sophomore Rachael Morgan and junior Stephanie Neville had five kills each.
Florida State had 14 team blocks compared to none by Alabama A&M. FSU out-hit the Bulldogs .397 to .024.
After running away with 25-10 win in the first set – a score that was the ‘Noles second largest margin of victory all year – FSU was pushed by an Alabama A&M team that won the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the second.
But a kill by Djuric made it 17-13 and Florida State eventually won 25-19 on Price’s dink in the middle of the court.
Just like the first set, the third was no problem for the Seminoles, who extended their winning streak to 17 matches in a row.
The Seminoles will now play a Jacksonville State team that defeated Florida A&M in an exciting five-set match earlier in the day. FSU and JSU will match up for the first time in the history of both volleyball programs on Sunday at 3 p.m. in Tully Gym.
The winner of that match will move on to the third round in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“They’re dangerous because they play with so much emotion,” Poole said about Jacksonville State. “They’re a very good serving team and very scrappy on defense so we are going to have to play really well. We can’t lay down and allow them to get into their rhythm. We will really have to try to dictate the offense and the tempo ourselves on our side of the net. Certainly we have a lot of respect for them and we’re going to have to go out and play well.”
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