Tallahassee, FL - The 20th-ranked Florida State University volleyball team shook off a slow start to defeat Clemson, 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 25-12, 25-21), on Friday evening at Tully Gym. The win marks the 10th consecutive home conference victory for FSU.
The Seminoles (13-3, 5-1) lost the first set for just the second time in seven home matches this year, but managed to bounce back as they found their groove offensively. Sophomore middle blocker Sareea Freeman ignited the charge by finishing with nine kills, three blocks and a .571 hitting percentage, while junior setter Patricia Figueiredo showed her marked improvement with a team-high 26 assists and seven digs.
Both players executed offensively the entire evening, as Freeman led FSU with four kills in a crucial second-set win, while Figueiredo combined for 15 assists in the third and fourth sets to aid her offensive hitters.
“Sareea is really settling in and gaining confidence,” head coach Chris Poole said following his 615th career victory. “She’s only a sophomore and played behind two senior middle blockers last year. She’s gaining confidence and realizes she needs to step up big for us.
“Patty is getting better every week. It’s very difficult for a setter to come in and take over an offense like that with a limited amount of practice time before the fall. It’s a difficult situation because every hitter has a different style of speed and tempo in attacking the ball, and the setter has to figure that out. Patty has improved every week for us and teamed up well with Sareea tonight.”
Another noticeable spark was sophomore outside hitter Fatma Yildirim, who recorded eight kills and nine digs as she fended off blockers at the net all match. The Istanbul, Turkey, native finished several sets in authoritative fashion to merit her All-ACC Freshman honors from a year ago.
FSU recorded a .270 hitting percentage, its highest average since boasting a .324 attack percentage at Miami exactly three weeks ago. Helping the cause was junior right-side hitter Rachael Morgan, who finished with a .316 hitting percentage on eight kills with five digs and four blocks.
Junior outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic led the Seminoles with 16 kills, and fell one dig shy of her ninth double-double of the year. Senior Jenna Romanelli finished with 12 digs and tied a season-high with five assists. She remains 70 digs shy of becoming just the 10th player in school history with 1,000 career digs.
The biggest stretch for the Seminoles came in the fourth set following a timeout that saw the Tigers (11-6, 2-4) carry a 16-11 lead. From then on, FSU did not allow Clemson to score consecutive points as it followed the break with six straight points to take a 17-16 advantage, highlighted by two service aces from Djurdjevic. Both Morgan and Djurdjevic finished off Clemson as Morgan recorded four kills down the stretch, and points 24 and 25 were credited to Djurdjevic’s kills.
FSU recorded a .371 hitting percentage in a dominant third set, as senior outside hitter Stephanie Neville registered four of her eight kills in the frame. Middle blocker Lauren Young added three kills while Clemson finished with 10 kills and eight attack errors in the set.
Clemson’s Sandra Adeleye and Serenat Yaz led the team with 12 kills apiece, while Moneshia Simmons added 11 kills. Setter Hannah Brenner finished with a match-high 38 assists, and Yaz added 16 digs in her double-double effort.
Despite Clemson and FSU being ranked first and second in the conference in blocks, respectively, both teams combined for only 11.5 blocks.
FSU returns with a televised matchup against Georgia Tech on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Tully Gym. The contest will be shown on Fox Sports Florida in the first of two televised home matches this season.
The Seminole players and coaches will also conduct a free clinic following Sunday’s match at Tully Gym as part of the team’s “Paint it Pink” initiative. Donations made at the clinic benefit the Tallahassee Memorial Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Center. Children five years of age thru eighth grade may take part in the free instructional clinic, and can register at the Seminoles.com volleyball page.