September 3, 2010 - by
Superb Hitting Lifts FSU

Sept. 3, 2010

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HOUSTON, Texas – The 13th-ranked Florida State University women’s volleyball team had its offensive attack in full force tonight as it defeated Houston in three sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-13) on Friday evening at the Houston Invitational in the Athletic/Alumni Center.

The Seminoles’ (4-0) .416 hitting percentage was their highest since hitting .443 on Nov. 29, 2009 against Boston College. Last year’s Elite Eight squad crossed the .400 threshold in five different matches, while this season’s team has already accomplished the feat twice in four matches.

“Tonight was our first match on the road, and I thought we weren’t as sharp as we could have been,” coach Chris Poole said. “But we also did a lot of good things. Our hitting and ball control were two strengths for us, and our ability to work in several players has been excellent so far this season.”

Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Co-Player of the Week Visnja Djurdjevic fell two digs shy of her second double-double this season. The junior outside hitter recorded 16 kills and eight digs while hitting at a .615 clip in 26 total attacks.

Senior libero Jenna Romanelli led all players with 15 digs, while setter Duygu Duzceler registered 22 assists. Sophomore middle blocker Sareea Freeman earned valuable time on the court, posting three kills and two blocks.

Senior outside hitter Stephanie Neville and junior Jekaterina Stepanova each added seven kills apiece, and Lauren Young finished with four kills in five attacks as well as one block.

The Seminoles held off a relentless Cougar squad in the first set, pulling away with the final three points. Djurdjevic tallied six kills and a block to lead FSU, while Young aided her hitting percentage once again with four kills in four attacks. The Seminoles recorded 17 kills to Houston’s 14, and broke away from a late 22-19 advantage by getting kills from Neville, Djurdjevic and Morgan to win the set.

FSU set the tone in the second set, racing to a 10-1 advantage that included three kills by Djurdjevic. Houston later fought back to come within striking distance by trailing 14-11, but the Seminoles stopped another rally with an attack that produced 14 kills in the set. Leading 23-19, FSU used a subsequent service error by Amber Brooks and a kill by Freeman to win the second set.

Houston kept the third set close in the early going, but FSU took an 11-10 lead and won the next five points to build a sizeable lead. Stepanova’s five kills in the set paced the Garnet and Gold. Sophmore defensive specialist Courtney Zuber’s service ace put FSU ahead 22-13, and Stepanova followed with a kill and a solo block to clinch the match for FSU.

Houston’s Lucy Charuk led the Cougars (1-3) with 12 kills, and Brooks finished with a match-high 30 assists.

The Seminoles return with a matchup against 17th-ranked Tennessee on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET. FSU follows with a match versus Oklahoma at 6 p.m. ET.

Tennessee looks very tough,” Poole added. “They’ve got so many players back this year. Tomorrow’s match will come down to which team can serve and pass better.”

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