Tallahassee, FL - No. 25 Florida State heads back on the road as it faces two schools from the Old Dominion State in Virginia and Virginia Tech this weekend. FSU begins with Virginia Tech on Friday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. at Cassel Coliseum, and finishes with Virginia on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Memorial Gym.
The Seminoles (15-6, 7-4) will face their first two repeat opponents this season, having already defeated the Hokies (14-7, 5-6) and the Cavaliers (10-11, 4-7). FSU won a five-set match against Virginia Tech on Sept. 26, and defeated Virginia, 3-0, on Sept. 24.
With nine conference matches remaining, FSU is tied for third place with Georgia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. The Seminoles trail first-place Duke and North Carolina, with both sitting two matches ahead at 9-2 in the conference.
In terms of bolstering its postseason résumé, FSU will look to add another quality RPI victory if it can top Virginia Tech again. The Seminoles have six wins against teams in the Top 65 of the RPI, and four wins against teams in the Top 35.
In its last match against Duke, the Seminoles pulled off a thrilling 3-2 victory after trailing 2-0 after the second set. FSU received contributions from several players, including junior outside hitter Jekaterina Stepanova (20 kills, 12 digs), senior outside hitter Stephanie Neville (16 kills, .429 hitting percentage, five blocks), sophomore outside hitter Fatma Yildirim (nine kills, eight digs) and freshman middle blocker (nine kills, .438 hitting percentage, six blocks).
Also playing well for FSU in what was a possible turnaround match was senior Lauren Young, who posted six blocks, and senior libero Jenna Romanelli, who had a season-high 26 digs. Romanelli recorded her 1,000th dig of the match in the fourth set, and now shows 1,008 for her career.
Should Romanelli continue at her normal pace, she would have an opportunity to pass former players Latoya Washington (1,019 digs), Deanna Bosschaert (1,054), Jennifer Werrick (1,080), Deanne Kaleta (1,083) and possibly Nancy Gaspadarek (1,150) for fifth-place on FSU’s all-time list.
Despite missing the team’s last two matches, junior outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic continues to lead the Seminoles with 243 kills, 25 service aces and 291 points. Neville, who is playing arguably her best volleyball of the season, is second on the team with 194 kills. The Cambridge, Ontario, native has recorded a combined 27 kills and a .424 hitting percentage over her last two matches.
Virginia Tech’s tandem of Felicia Willoughby and Cara Baarendise sit at second and third, respectively, in the ACC in hitting percentage. Baarendise, a sophomore, recorded 19 kills and a .500 hitting percentage in Virginia Tech’s first match against FSU, while Willoughby added 16 kills and a .303 attack percentage.
Virginia’s Simone Asque is one of the top players in the ACC, joining Djurdjevic as one of three players in the conference to place in the Top five in kills per set (4.12), service aces per set (0.36) and points per set (4.76). She had nine kills and a .069 hitting percentage against FSU in the first meeting.
This weekend’s contests can be followed via live stats as well as streaming video. The contest against Virginia Tech will be streamed on HokieSports.com, and can be followed on Virginia Tech’s website as well. Sunday’s match can also be followed via live stats on Virginiasports.com.