Tallahassee, FL - With two important matchups at hand, the Florida State University volleyball team hopes to pad its NCAA Tournament résumé as it faces Maryland and Boston College at Tully Gym this weekend.
FSU hosts the Terrapins (19-10, 10-7) in one of the ACC’s best matches of the week on Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. Both teams are locked in a four-way tie for third place in the conference, joining Georgia Tech and Miami. The Seminoles (18-9, 10-7) are hoping for a comeback win against Maryland after falling in five sets at College Park on Oct. 17.
The first 300 students who attend Friday night’s contest will receive a free FSU volleyball T-shirt.
“With a four-way tie for third place, tomorrow night’s match is extremely crucial,” head coach Chris Poole said. “If we want to play in the NCAA Tournament we need to have a strong closing. Playing against a team that we’re tied with makes this a big match, and our girls will have to step up and handle everything on Friday.”
Sunday’s matchup versus Boston College at 1 p.m. will air on Fox Sports Florida, and will be followed by FSU’s second “Paint it Pink” clinic approximately 10 minutes after the match. The Seminoles (18-9, 10-7) defeated the Eagles (8-22, 0-17) earlier in the season by a 3-2 score. In that contest, junior outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic recorded a season-high 21 kills, the most by an FSU player this season. Sophomore Fatma Yildirim helped FSU pull out the victory as well with 11 kills and seven digs, and freshman middle blocker Ashley Neff made her season debut by posting a team-best five blocks.
“Anytime you play a team that has nothing to lose, it makes it a dangerous team,” Poole added. “They have a new coach with a new attitude who is trying to get them in the sense of playing well. Every match is a challenge for us because we’re switching lineups and doing different things. We know what is on the line and the only thing we need to focus on is getting wins. We’ve lost an opportunity to win the ACC championship, but we can still play in the NCAA championship.
FSU is 18-23 all-time against Maryland, and holds an 11-1 series advantage over Boston College. The Seminoles look to end this weekend by reaching the 20-win mark, which would mark the first time in program history that FSU has won 20 or more matches in three consecutive seasons since joining the ACC in 1991.
The Seminoles are coming off one of their best offensive performances in conference play this season, registering a .292 attack percentage in a 3-0 win over North Carolina State last Sunday. Their defense ignited a critical RPI win over North Carolina last Friday, totaling 14.5 blocks for their third-most this season.
Earlier in the week, FSU jumped five spots to the 24th-best RPI. With Maryland currently holding the No. 50 spot, the Seminoles have an opportunity to pick up their sixth Top-50 RPI win, based on the current standings, and their ninth win against teams in the RPI Top 60.
Senior Stephanie Neville has recorded a .317 hitting percentage in her last eight matches, amassing 90 kills and 2.81 kills per set. She has hit above .300 in five of those eight matches and has recorded double-digit kills in 12 matches this season.
Neville has also been able to keep her numbers consistent in both overall play and conference play. She is averaging 2.40 kills per set within the ACC, slightly higher than her total numbers, and has an identical .268 hitting percentage in both categories. She is also averaging slightly more in points per set (2.72) in conference play than her season average (2.67).
Should FSU defeat Maryland, it would boast a victory against every team in the ACC except one-time opponent Wake Forest. In order to top the Terrapins, the Seminoles will look to uphold their Top 50 marks in both blocks per set (49th nationally at 2.40) and attack percentage (50th at .241).
Maryland is coming off consecutive victories against Wake Forest and Duke. The Terrapins lead the ACC with 151 service aces, and are led offensively by junior Lisa Scott’s .345 hitting percentage. Senior libero Bethany Springer leads the team with 468 digs, while sophomore Remy McBain shows 1,085 assists. Mary Cushman led Maryland in its last match against FSU with 18 kills.
B.C.’s Tsvetelina Dureva recorded 27 kills against FSU on Oct. 15, the most by an FSU opponent this season. She is eighth in the ACC with 3.22 kills per set, while senior Kristen Baader is eighth in the conference with 4.10 digs per set.