August 9, 2010 - by
Volleyball Squad Begins Fall Practice

Aug. 9, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State University volleyball team commences its preseason training sessions with a 9 a.m. practice on Monday, Aug. 9, at Tully Gym in Tallahassee, Fla. The group will then practice from 3-6 p.m. to complete its double session.

The squad is scheduled to practice twice daily through Aug. 20 at the same allotted times, which are subject to change. The FSU alumni match on Saturday, Aug. 21, marks the first exhibition for the team this season, followed by the season-opener on Friday, Aug. 27, versus New Mexico State at the FSU Invitational at 7 p.m. at Tully Gym.

The Seminoles finished the 2009 season with a No. 11 national ranking, the highest in school history. Their historic year was highlighted by an Elite Eight finish, the first-ever regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference championship, a 16-match winning streak in the conference and a 19-match overall winning streak.

The 2010 version returns eight letterwinners, including three talented outside hitters in junior Rachael Morgan, sophomore Fatma Yildirim and senior Stephanie Neville. Morgan, a Tauranga, New Zealand, native, was an AVCA Division I Honorable Mention All-American as well as an All-ACC Team member last year. She finished fourth on the team with 281 kills and tied for third with 2.27 kills per set.

Yildirim, hailing from Istanbul, Turkey, was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team last season. In 124 sets played, she finished second on the team in both digs (344) and average digs per set (2.77). Neville, a Cambridge, Ontario, resident, started 31 matches for the 2009 squad and finished third with 286 kills. She is one of four seniors on the team, joining defensive specialists Jenna Romanelli (Orlando, Fla.) and Taylor Wilson (Clearwater, Fla.) as well as middle blocker Lauren Young (Ben Wheeler, Texas).

Two standout Division I transfers from Tulane University in outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic (Zitiste, Serbia) and middle blocker Marija Milosavljevic (Bajina Basta, Serbia) highlight the group of newcomers. Djurdjevic is the reigning Conference USA Co-Player of the Year, while Milosavljevic was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2009.

Setter Patricia Figueiredo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and outside hitter Jekaterina Stepanova (Riga, Latvia) are two First-Team Junior College All-Americans who also join the squad.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll and ACC preseason rankings are set to be released on Aug. 17.

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