October 20, 2006 - by
Seminole Volleyball Plays Host To Wake Forest & Duke In Key Weekend Matches

Oct. 20, 2006

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Florida State Volleyball
Lucy McDaniel Court at Tully Gym (1,162) • Tallahassee, Fla.

Vs. Wake Forest
Friday, Oct. 20 • 7 p.m.
Internet RadioGametracker

Vs. Duke
Sunday, Oct. 22 • 1 p.m.
Fox Sports Florida • Internet RadioGametracker
Tom Block (P-B-P), Keith Jones (Color) 

Florida State (14-5)
Home: 7-2
Away: 6-1
Neutral: 1-2
ACC: 8-2

Wake Forest (11-7) 
Home: 7-3 
Away: 2-2 
Neutral: 2-2
ACC: 7-2

Duke (16-2)
Home: 9-0
Away: 4-1
Neutral: 3-1
ACC: 9-0

Dig, Set, Spike (What You Need To Know):
• Looking to get back in the win column after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Miami, the Florida State volleyball team has a pair of weekend home matches. The Seminoles play host to Wake Forest Friday (Oct. 20) at 7 p.m. then take on first-place Duke at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

• Florida State is 3-1 in its next match following a loss with a pair of four-match winning streak after each of the last two defeats.

• Sunday’s the Seminoles will take part in the “Dig For the Cure” campaign to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Players and coaches are taking flat-rate pledges or for every dig they get against Duke.

• Sunday will be Florida State’s last scheduled appearance on television as Fox Sports Florida will broadcast the game live. The Seminoles are 1-2 in TV matches this year.

• The next dig by junior libero Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) will be the 1,186 of her career and move her into sole possession of third-place in school history.

• Outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) posted her third 20-kill match of the season against the Hurricanes with 21 winners. Last season the 6-foot junior only had two during the entire campaign.

Seminoles Play Host To Wake Forest & Duke In Key Weekend Matches
This weekend might be the most important one Lucy McDaniel Court at Tully Gymnasium as seen in some time. Any aspiration the Florida State volleyball team has of winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title may rest in the balance of this weekend as the third-place Seminoles (14-15 overall, 8-2 ACC) play host to fourth-place Wake Forest (117, 7-3) on Friday (October 20) at 7 p.m. then take on league-leader Duke (16-2, 8-0) at 1 p.m. on Sunday (October 22). Sunday’s match will be broadcast live television as Fox Sport Florida will carry the match.

Florida State Bouncing Back Better After Losses
The true character of a team can be measured in how it responds after a loss. This year Florida State is 3-1 following a defeat and after each of the last two losses the Seminoles have rattled off a pair of four-match winning streaks. During Todd Kress’ tenure, Florida State owns a 30-27 record after a loss. Junior Makini Thompson and senior middle blocker Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) are the go-to players on offense after a loss as they average 3.82 and 3.12 kills per game, respectively. In the blocking department, freshman middle blocker Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) ups her total to 1.24 blocks per game and senior outside hitter Jessica Skower (Naples, Fla.) is close behind at 1.00 bpg.

Defense Wins Championships?
Florida State is 11-1 when it out-digs its opponents versus 2-4 when the opposition has more digs. The same can be said for blocks as FSU is 11-2 when it has more blocks to just 2-3 when the opponent is the better blocker. However, the Seminoles don’t always have their best digging and blocking efforts when they win. In the 14 matches FSU has won this year, it has a rate of 13.14 digs per game and 2.18 blocks per game, compared to 13.89 dpg and 2.58 bpg when it loses.

Or Is It Offense?
In its 14 victories this season, the overlying theme for the Seminoles has been offense. Florida State is hitting .345 in victories, compared to .195 during the five losses. During victories, the Seminoles up their kill rate to 16.38 from 14.71 and assists jump from 13.89 to 14.96. Freshman outside hitter Malorie Wessel (West Chester, Ohio) shines brighter in victories as she goes from 2.38 kills per game and a .080 hitting percentage in losses to 3.14 kpg and a rate .346 percent during a win. Senior setter Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) picks up her assist rate to 12.39 from 11.37 during victories.

Victories Are Served
A further look into the numbers that help determine the Seminoles’ success may come from serving. During victories, Florida State averages 2.4 aces per game, but only 1.4 per game during a loss. Serve receiving is also better for the Seminoles in victories as they reduce serve receive errors from 1.9 in a loss to 1.6 in a victory. In the losses to USC, Clemson and Miami, Florida State had one ace per game or less while having 2 or more serve receive errors against St. John’s, Florida, Clemson and Miami.

Dig For The Cure
Florida State will join schools from around the country for the “Dig for the Cure” to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Seminole players and coach are collecting donations in one of two forms: 1) A flat denotation or 2) a certain amount for every dig FSU earns during its October 22 match against Duke, which falls during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more information or to make a pledge, call the FSU volleyball office at (850) 644-3003.

Scouting Wake Forest
Along with Florida State and Clemson, Wake Forest has been one of the pleasant surprises in the conference this year. Picked to finish ninth by the league coaches, the Demon Deacons come into this weekend a half-game back of the Seminoles for third place. WFU’s success has come from a balanced team effort as it does not have one dominating area – the Demon Deacons only rank in the top half of the league in one category (sixth for blocks in ACC games). Outside hitter Jessica Furlong is tenth in the ACC for kills in both overall matches (3.43) and ACC contests (3.50). FSU head coach Todd Kress is 4-3 versus the Demon Deacons, while WFU’s Heather Kahl Holmes is 1-1.

Scouting Duke
Currently in ACC volleyball there’s Duke, and then there is everybody else. The Blue Devils are a perfect 9-0 in the league, 16-2 overall with their only two losses coming to No. 2 Penn State and Notre Dame. Duke has won nine matches in a row, all in conference, and only Georgia Tech and Virginia have even managed to take a game off Duke. The Blue Devils get it done with defense as they rank fifth in the country at 20.13 digs per game while also rating in the top ten in two other categories. Setter Ali Hausfeld is tops in the league at 13.03 assists per game, while libero Jenny Shull leads the ACC with 5.68 digs per game. Todd Kress won his first match against Duke in 2002, but has lost the last six. Duke’s Jolene Nagel is 9-2 against the Seminoles.

Weekend In Virginia Moves Seminoles Up In NCAA Rankings
All season long Florida State has been one of the top hitting teams in the country and during the latest NCAA weekly rankings, released October 17, the Seminoles checked in at number three at .305. Florida State recorded 15 aces during the two matches in Virginia to push its rate 23rd at 2.22. By averaging 18.14 kills over the weekend, Florida State moved up to 26th at 16.22 per game. On the individual charts, freshmen Malorie Wessel was 18th at 0.62 aces per game.

FSU Moves Up To Third In RichKern.com/AVCA Regional Rankings
The Seminoles run of four-straight victories moved them up to third in the East Region rankings by RichKern.com and the AVCA. Rankings are based on the RKPI, which is based on the biannual NCAA RPI rankings. In the latest RKPI, Florida State is rated 56th nationally, trailing only Duke (35) and Hostra (49) in the region. The Seminoles moved up to No. 50 in the Pablo rankings – based on a mathematical algorithm – trailing only Duke in the ACC at No. 20. Last season 44 of the top 50 teams in the Pablo ranking prior to the NCAA tournament, qualified for the national summit. Clemson is next in the ACC at 55 on Pablo and 60 for the RKPI.

Weissing One Short Of No. 3 On Digs Charts
Just one more dig against the Hurricanes would have moved Summer Weissing up to number three in school history with 1,186 digs. Maybe its fitting that Weissing will move up a spot against the Demon Deacons as last season she broke the single-season school record with 10 digs versus Wake Forest in the final match of the season. At her current rate, Weissing is on pace to have 436 digs this season, which will rank her sixth on the single-season list and leave her 78 short of second-place Holly Schneider and 423 behind Luiza Ramos’ record of 1,771 digs.

Wake Forest Was The Beginning Of 2005 Turnaround
This weekend marks the halfway point in the 2006 ACC season, and just like last year, FSU will finish the first round of matches with Duke and Wake Forest. Unlike last year, the Seminoles are playing for first place, not trying to climb out of the cellar. After the 3-0 loss to WFU on October 21, 2005, the Seminoles went on to win eight of their final 11 matches, topped off by a 3-0 sweep of the Demon Deacons the day after Thanksgiving.

Skower Closing In On No. 3 Slot On Assist List
In making the move to outside hitter from setter, senior Jessica Skower potentially gave up the chance to finish third on the FSU all-time assist list. Fortunately, it appears she will reach number three after all. Even though she is only averaging 0.71 assist per game, compared to a career rate of coming into 2006, Skower is on track to record 29assists the rest of the season, allowing her to pass Fiona Bolton by five at 2,984.

Game Three Is Key For Seminoles
The outcome of the match for FSU came virtually be determined by its game three performance. The Seminoles are a perfect 11-0 when winning the third stanza, but only three times have they won the match after losing the third set (Miami – 9/19, Georgia Tech and Clemson. Along those same lines, Tuesday was just the second time Florida State lost the match after winning game two, the other was the 3-1 loss to No. 6 Florida.

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