Nov. 14, 2009
ATLANTA, Ga. – The No. 15 Florida State volleyball has taken yet another step towards its first regular-season conference championship with its three-set sweep (25-20, 25-23, 25-23) of Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga.
The Seminoles (25-2, 16-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) remain two games up on second-place Duke as they earned their school-record 13th consecutive conference victory with the win over a Yellow Jackets (18-9, 12-5) team that handed FSU its lone league loss earlier this year.
As the score would indicate, this was one of those hard-fought, down-to-the-wire type of matches that could have gone either way. But just as it has done all season long, this FSU team found a way to come out on top and enact a little revenge against a team that did that same thing in its win in Tallahassee last month.
“It sure got close in both the second and third sets,” FSU head coach Chris Poole said. “We showed a lot of poise and determination to get wins in those two sets. And that was something we talked about coming into the game. We really talked about coming in and trying to close out the match as fast as possible and not let Georgia Tech get going because they are a very good team.”
The Seminoles didn’t hit particularly well Saturday (they had a team hitting percentage of .275) but their tremendous offensive balance and strong defense made all the difference.
All but one of FSU’s hitters had at least five kills with senior middle blocker Brianna Barry leading the way with nine. The Winter Springs, Fla. native, who leads the conference and is second in the nation in hitting percentage, showed why that’s her area of expertise in Atlanta. She finished the day with a hitting percentage of an even .600.
“Everybody played pretty well today,” Poole said. “It was up and down but that’s how it goes sometimes. Brianna really stepped up as she has done all year. She is still battling with a sore shin so she has to favor one leg but that didn’t stop her from performing very well.”
Defensively, the ‘Noles had eight team blocks compared to just three by the Yellow Jackets.
Florida State has just three games left before the start of the NCAA Tournament. Depending on what Duke does in its Saturday night match against Virginia, FSU may just be one or two wins shy of claiming the conference crown outright.
Either way, FSU fans will have the opportunity this weekend to see the Seminoles play their final home stand of the season with the opportunity to clinch the automatic tournament berth and perhaps the outright ACC championship.
With one more win, FSU will claim the ACC’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament since they own the tiebreaker over the Blue Devils. Assuming Duke wins tonight, two more FSU wins mean the team will earn the first regular-season ACC crown for the first time in school history.
Florida State hosts Boston College on Friday at 7 p.m. and welcome Maryland to Tully Gym on Sunday at 1 p.m. The volleyball team will be partnering with the Student Athlete Advisory Council for Friday’s match and will be accepting canned food donations benefitting 2nd Harvest Food Bank.
Against the Eagles, the program will honor 2009 FSU Hall of Fame inductee, former head coach Dr. Cecile Reynaud, and Lucy McDaniel, the court’s namesake. Against the Terrapins, the team’s four seniors will be honored.