Oct. 13, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 21st-ranked Florida State University indoor volleyball team survived another conference weekend on the road and returns home to play Georgia Tech on Friday evening at 7 p.m., followed by a Sunday matchup at 1 p.m. versus Clemson.
Following Sunday’s match, a free volleyball clinic will be held for any children five years of age through eighth grade who are less than 14 years of age. The clinic is held to promote FSU’s “Paint it Pink” efforts, and any donations to the Tallahassee Memorial Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Center can be made on the day of the event. Information and a required clinic form can be found HERE
The Seminoles (13-4, 7-0) are the only undefeated team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, yet face a Georgia Tech squad on Friday that has gotten the best of FSU since head coach Chris Poole arrived in 2008. The Yellow Jackets (10-7, 3-4) are the only team to show a non-losing record against FSU in the Poole era, going 3-3 which included a split by both teams last year. Georgia Tech carries one of the nation’s top outside hitters in junior Monique Mead, who is averaging 4.98 kills per set.
FSU currently holds a seven-match winning streak, all in conference play. While it forms the top blocking unit in the ACC and one of the best nationally, Clemson has one of the conference’s best offensive units in which it is second in the ACC in hitting percentage (.251) during conference play. Sandra Adeleye leads the Tigers (13-5, 5-2) with 217 kills and 3.14 kills per set, while Alexa Rand has an impressive .387 hitting percentage and 104 blocks.
FSU trails Georgia Tech in the all-time series, 29-12. The Seminoles are looking for their first victory at home against the Yellow Jackets since the 2008 season. The Seminoles lead the overall series against Clemson, 25-20, and have won four of the last five matches.
Consecutive Season Highs
FSU’s recent road trip to North Carolina and North Carolina State featured the team’s major attribute – blocking.
In the 3-1 victory over the Tar Heels, FSU recorded 20 team blocks in what was its largest output since also having 20 blocks against Boston College on Oct. 28, 2005.
The Seminoles, however, were not finished. FSU then racked up another season high with 26 team blocks at N.C. State on Oct. 9. In that match, eight Seminoles had at least one block, including four that produced solo blocks.
FSU has now upped its season-high in blocks in three straight games, having produced 18 against Wake Forest on Oct. 2.
The NCAA’s Leading Blocker
It has been an outstanding season for sophomore middle blocker Ashley Neff, who now leads the nation in blocks per set after her career-high 14 blocks against N.C. State on Oct. 9.
The Kennesaw, Ga., native amassed 26 total blocks in FSU’s recent two-match weekend, tallying a then-career high 12 before it was broken against the Wolfpack. She also recorded her first career double-double against N.C. State when she registered 10 kills.
Neff has been enjoying an All-America caliber season, hitting .326 and showing 106 total blocks. She has three double-digit blocking performances this season, including 10 vs. nationally-ranked Kentucky to start the year. Her 14 blocks vs. N.C. State tie Wake Forest’s Carlin Salmon for the most in a single match this season by an ACC player.
Freeman Finding Her Game
Helping form a tremendous blocking duo is junior Sareea Freeman, who had a season-high nine blocks against the Wolfpack.
The Fresno, Calif., native possesses great athleticism to get up at the net and clog any hitting lanes for oncoming attackers. She joins Ashley Neff as the two Seminoles averaging over one block per set, showing a 1.19 average.
From a conference standpoint, FSU has been so dominant at the net that it shows three Seminoles in Neff (1.96), Freeman (1.36) and senior Rachael Morgan (1.19) who are in the top five in blocks per set in ACC matches.
Representing the ACC
Now that the conference season is in full gear, it is worth noting that FSU has already done a lot this year to represent the Atlantic Coast Conference. No. 21 FSU joins No. 23 Miami as the only two ACC schools who are currently ranked, and enters Friday’s contest as the conference’s lone undefeated team in ACC play. During the non-conference portion, the ACC picked up three victories against ranked opponents. FSU owns two of those wins, having defeated then-No. 23 Tulsa and then-No. 23 Dayton earlier this year.
Since the start of the new millennium, there have been just four occasions in which FSU Volleyball has put together a win streak of seven matches.
In 2000, FSU started the season winning its first seven matches. A nine-year gap ensued until the historic 2009 squad that reached the Elite Eight won nine straight games early in the season and then won 19 consecutive matches before falling at Minnesota in the NCAA Elite Eight.
FSU currently boasts a seven-match win streak, all in ACC play.
For more information on this weekend’s matches, click HERE