CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Big efforts by outside hitters Visnja Djurdjevic and Stephanie Neville were not enough as the 25th-ranked Florida State University volleyball team lost in five sets to Virginia, 3-2 (18-25, 13-25, 25-18, 25-19, 14-16), on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
Djurdjevic led the Seminoles (15-8, 7-6) with 20 kills and added a season-high 22 digs for her 12th double-double of the season. Djurdjevic also finished with a .302 hitting percentage, and tied her season high with four service aces.
Neville continues to lead FSU offensively, finishing with a season-high 17 kills, a .317 attack percentage, five digs and four blocks. Senior libero Jenna Romanelli recorded 27 digs, also a season high, to give her 1,053 for her career. She needs just two more digs to move past former player Deanna Bosschaert (1991-94) for eighth place on FSU’s career digs list.
Sophomore outside hitter Fatma Yildirim had one of her better performances this season, posting season highs of 12 kills and 15 digs. Freshman middle blocker Ashley Neff also contributed with nine blocks, while sophomore Sareea Freeman added six kills and three blocks.
Setter Duygu Duzceler established her season high with 31 assists, while sophomore Patricia Figueiredo added 24. FSU recorded 61 assists as a team, tying for their most this season.
“It’s been three matches in a row that we have been down 2-0 and then fought back,” head coach Chris Poole said. “I’m proud of the way they are fighting to come back, but it is hard to come all the way back on the road. We are struggling to replace Rachael (Morgan) right now as we do not have another player with her experience to replace her.”
For the sixth time in 13 Atlantic Coast Conference matches, FSU was forced to play five sets. The Cavaliers (12-11, 6-7) took an early 5-3 lead in the final frame on a block by Sydney Hill and McKenzie Adams, but FSU fought back with a block by Neff and Neville and later a kill by Yildirim to take a 6-5 advantage.
Virginia scored three consecutive points on kills by Simon Asque and a service ace by Emily Rottman. A ball-handling error by Virginia’s Rachael Gray cut FSU’s deficit to 11-10, and a kill by Djurdjevic kept FSU in the set at 13-11. Yildirim and Neville followed later with kills that tied the match at 13-13 and 14-14, respectively, but kills by Asque and Adams gave Virginia its first win over FSU since Sept. 20, 2007 – a span of six matches.
Asque led the Cavaliers with 20 kills, while Jessica O’Shoney added 14. Setter Beth Wildermuth led all players with 49 assists.
“Our confidence has really taken a hit over the last few weeks and we are continuing to adjust our lineup based on who is healthy,” Poole added. “I believe that if we can overcome the adversity it will make us a better team and program in the future.”
FSU looks to rebound with two more important conference road matches next weekend. The Seminoles face Georgia Tech on Friday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m., and follow with a match at Clemson on Saturday at 6 p.m.