Sept. 21, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After more than a week off from competition, the 23rd-ranked Florida State University indoor volleyball team faces two key conference matchups on the road this weekend. On Friday, Sept. 23, FSU travels to Virginia for a 7 p.m. contest, followed the next day by a 6 p.m. bout with Virginia Tech.
In 2010, the Seminoles faced both ACC teams from the “Old Dominion State” twice apiece, winning both contests at home and falling on the road in both matches. FSU has gotten off to a 1-0 start in conference play after an important 3-0 win over then-No. 20 Miami in a nationally televised contest on ESPNU at Tully Gym. The victory elevated FSU to 3-1 in conference-opening matches since head coach Chris Poole took over in 2008.
The Seminoles (7-4, 1-0) own a 29-14 series lead over the Cavaliers (6-5, 0-1). FSU has won six of the past seven matchups, but lost in the last contest on the road, 3-2. Virginia fell in its first ACC contest at Virginia Tech on Sept. 16, losing 3-1. The Cavaliers own victories over USC Upstate (3-0), Western Carolina (3-0), East Carolina (3-0), Long Island (W, 3-0), Marshall (W, 3-0) and at Ohio (W, 3-1). UVA also nearly stole a set versus top-ranked California in a 3-0 loss.
UVA’s Jessica O’Shoney is fifth in the ACC with a .379 hitting percentage, while Simone Asque remains one of the conference’s best players with 3.82 kills per set. Asque, an outside hitter, is third in the conference with 4.37 points per set, while UVA is high on the conference list with 17 digs per set and 12.87 assists per set.
Prior to its match against FSU, Virginia Tech will get a hefty tune-up against travel partner Miami. The Hokies (8-4, 1-0) are the ACC’s best blocking unit, averaging 2.80 blocks per set. They are riding a three-match winning streak that includes victories over UVA, Chattanooga and Connecticut.
Victoria Hamsher, a sophomore middle blocker, leads Virginia Tech with 1.43 blocks per set, good enough for second in the ACC. Cara Baarendse and Victoria Hamsher are ninth and 10th, respectively, in the ACC with .348 and .347 hitting percentages.
Walch Named ACC Co-Player of the Week
Seminole student-athlete Elise Walch, a sophomore outside hitter, guided the team’s win last week with a career-high .706 hitting percentage on 12 kills and no errors in 17 attacks. She closed out the match by connecting on 10 of her last 12 swings, including five kills apiece in her second and third sets.
For her efforts, the Stuart, Fla., native was honored as the conference’s co-player of the week, joining Wake Forest’s Carlin Salmon. Walch made her ACC debut against Miami, becoming the 20th Seminole to earn ACC Player or Co-Player of the Week honors. The weekly award means at least one FSU volleyball student-athlete has earned the honor in each of the last five seasons.
According to the latest NCAA rankings, the Seminoles have been one of the nation’s best in terms of offensive and defensive production.
As a team, FSU is tied for 11th nationally with a .286 hitting percentage. The Seminoles are also 27th with 2.61 blocks per set.
Individually, Ashley Neff is the lone FSU volleyball player to crack the Top-50 mark in any category. Neff is 12th in the nation with 1.5 blocks per set.
Unofficial RPI Update
While the official NCAA Ratings Percentage Index isn’t released yet, the Rich Kern Percentage Index always provides a near-accurate portrayal of the NCAA’s most used statistic.
In the latest rankings, FSU shows an impressive No. 11 RKPI ranking, with the fourth-ranked non-conference schedule in the nation.
The latest rankings reveal head coach Chris Poole’s scheduling philosophy of trying to play some of the best competition in the nation. In his Elite Eight season in 2009, FSU finished third in the NCAA RPI.
Read more about this weekend’s matches by clicking HERE