TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Seniors Fatma Yildirim and Sareea Freeman as well as junior Ashley Neff were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-East Region Team, announced today by the Lexington, Ky. – based organization.
“I'm very proud of these three young ladies,” head coach Chris Poole said of his three honorees. “There are many great players in our region and we had a lot of different players step up at key times during the season, so it's not easy to make this list. Although we are disappointed in losing the last match, we are very proud of what this team accomplished throughout the season. Once you get into the NCAA Tournament, you meet a lot of great teams. If you have an off match, it will have consequences. Sareea, Ashley and Fatma were three of our most consistent players throughout the season and we appreciate them being awarded this great honor.”
It marks the second straight season Florida State volleyball has had three-student athletes named to the all-region team. Last year, All-Americans Visnja Djurdjevic, Jekaterina Stepanova and Neff were recognized. Of the current student-athletes on the list throughout the region, Neff joins Clemson’s Sandra Adeleye, Duke’s Ali McCurdy, North Carolina’s Emily McGee and Georgia Tech’s Monique Mead as multiple-time honorees.
With Freeman and Yildirim being first-time players named to the all-region team, Florida State has now had 29 players who have earned the honor in the program’s history. All three student-athletes in Neff, Freeman and Yildirim were instrumental in guiding Florida State to its second consecutive ACC championship in 2012. The Seminoles became the first ACC team to earn back-to-back titles since Maryland in 2003-04.
Neff was crowned as the ACC Player of the Year in 2012, as she finished with a .380 hitting percentage, 248 kills, 184 total blocks and averaged 1.61 blocks per set. Her blocks-per-set average was higher this season than her All-America year in 2011 and she also finished much better offensively. The Kennesaw, Ga. native’s block total this season ranks 10th in school history, as she now owns two of the Top 10 totals.
Freeman finishes her career with a .356 hitting percentage that ranks as the third-highest in school history. The Fresno, Calif. native ended a remarkable senior campaign hitting .438, which could end up being the highest in the nation when the volleyball year is complete. Freeman broke a school record with four career ACC Player of the Week awards, earning the conference honor three times this season.
Yildirim wraps up her senior season with an all-region honor in addition to her all-conference award. The Istanbul, Turkey native was named to two all-tournament teams and led Florida State with 324 kills and 2.89 kills per set. Yildirim showed vast improvement on the defensive end this season, recording 2.75 digs per set.
On Wednesday, Dec. 12, the AVCA will announce the first, second, third and honorable mention All-America Teams.
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