Dec. 14, 2011
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (seminoles.com) – Senior outside hitter Jekaterina Stepanova headlines three Florida State University volleyball student-athletes who were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I All-America Teams today.
Stepanova, a Riga, Latvia, native, joins senior outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic and sophomore middle blocker Ashley Neff as the Seminoles who are honored. Stepanova was named an AVCA Division I Second-Team All-American, making her just the second Seminole to be honored as a non-honorable mention All-American. Stepanova joins former Seminole middle blocker Brianna Barry, who also was a second-team honoree in 2009.
FSU now boasts 10 All-Americans in its history, with eight being honorable mention. Djurdjevic’s honor is significant in that she is the first Seminole to be named to one of the AVCA’s four All-America teams multiple times as a member of the Garnet Gold, as she was also named an honorable-mention All-American in 2010. Djurdjevic is a three-time honorable mention All-American, first being a part of the list following her sophomore year at Tulane.
Known for her tremendous aerial skills, Stepanova etched her name in the FSU record books this season with a tremendous senior season that is not yet over. She leads the Seminoles with 410 kills and put forth one of the best performances of her career in FSU’s Elite Eight win over Iowa State, tallying 20 kills, a .378 hitting percentage, nine digs and two blocks en route to being named the Minneapolis Regional MVP. This season, Stepanova has been named the AVSR Global Player of the Year, an AVCA All-East Region member and an All-ACC Team member.
Neff has enjoyed an eye-opening season as she is the nation’s leader with 192 total blocks. The Kennesaw, Ga., native is fifth nationally in blocks per set, although she led the nation in the category for the majority of the season. The AVCA All-East Region member is eighth on FSU’s single-season blocks list, and recently passed one of Gabrielle Reece’s totals from the 1990 season. This year, Neff has produced five double-digit blocking performances, and has improved offensively with 207 kills and a .303 hitting percentage.
Djurdjevic has been an offensive force once again for the Seminoles, averaging 2.86 kills per set and recording 346 kills. The Zitiste, Serbia, native was named to the Minneapolis Regional All-Tournament Team after totaling 24 kills and 45 digs in FSU’s two victories over Purdue and Iowa State. Djurdjevic will cap her final year as a Seminole with AVCA All-East Region and All-ACC honors, giving her a superb two-year career at FSU.
The Seminoles will play in the NCAA National Semifinals for the first time in school history on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. ET at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. FSU will face UCLA in a nationally-televised contest on ESPN2 as well as ESPN3.com.