Oct. 24, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The 18th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball is reaching the midway point of conference play and faces another important road swing this weekend when it battles No. 23 Duke and Wake Forest.
The Seminoles (14-5, 7-1) and Blue Devils (16-3, 7-1) play on Friday, Oct. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The matchup is a battle of two first-place teams in the ACC, while also being joined by No. 14 North Carolina. The FSU-Duke contest will be video streamed on GoDuke.com with a paid subscription needed to view the event.
Florida State follows with a match at Wake Forest on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Reynolds Gym. That matchup will be video streamed on Wakeforestsports.com with a paid subscription needed once again.
"It's taken a little bit of time to mix our experience and youth," head coach Chris Poole said. "I think we've been playing well together, but we know we have some very good teams in our conference right now that we have to overcome. I feel like we're coming around well, they're working very hard and they know how important this weekend is."
In the 48-match history between the `Noles and Blue Devils, Friday's match will mark the first time both teams square off as Top 25 opponents. Duke leads the all-time series 34-14, and FSU is 4-17 all-time in Durham, N.C., with two of those wins coming in 2009 and 2012.
The `Noles boast a 7-1 ACC record heading into their match at Duke. For the fourth time in the last five seasons, FSU has won at least seven of its first eight ACC matches. The only exception was in 2010 when it started 6-2 through its first eight ACC matches.
Since 2011, Florida State holds a 43-5 record against ACC competition. One of those losses came at Duke on Nov. 13, 2011, when FSU was vying to become the first team to go 20-0 in the conference.
The Seminoles are seeking their fourth AVCA Top 25 win of the season against No. 23 Duke on Friday. The `Noles own nationally-ranked wins this season over then-No. 7 Michigan, then-No. 16 Western Kentucky and then-No. 17 Kentucky.
On Saturday, Florida State will look for its fifth consecutive win over Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons (13-7, 2-6) are one of four ACC teams whom FSU holds at least a five-match win streak against. The others include NC State (26), Boston College (11) and Maryland (5).
Senior middle blocker Ashley Neff has put up strong career numbers against Wake Forest. In five matches vs. the Demon Deacons, Neff has totaled 27 blocks and averaged 1.42 blocks per set. She leads the ACC with 1.47 blocks per set, and is trying to become the first conference player ever to lead the league in blocks per set in three straight years.
The `Noles hold an RPI of 32, while Duke is 18th. A victory could go a long way toward FSU's bid for a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The feat would mark a program record for consecutive postseason appearances, which is currently at four from 1987-90 and 2009-12.
Freshman right-side hitter Izzy Carmona combined for 25 kills in two matches last week against Miami and Notre Dame, as she continues to excel as the year progresses. The kill total tied her season total through her first nine matches played this season.
Carrying a tradition of strong setter play, Duke junior Maggie Deichmeister is helping the Blue Devils to 13.96 assists per set, which ranks fourth nationally. She is averaging 10.98 assists per set, good enough for third in the ACC. The Blue Devil hitting attack has also operated at an efficient rate this season, averaging 15.11 kills per set which are fifth in the nation.
Wake Forest is coming off a 3-0 win at Georgia Tech on Oct. 20, and also own a five-set win at Notre Dame. The tandem of hitters Kristin Grissom and Kylie Hargreaves has helped the Demon Deacons offensively, with each player leading the team with 214 kills and 3.01 kills per set. Grissom has executed well on the attack, showing a .285 hitting percentage.
Following the weekend road trip, Florida State begins a November slate that features seven home matches from Nov. 1-29. It begins on Friday, Nov. 1, with a key match against nationally-ranked North Carolina at 7 p.m. at Tully Gym. The match will be streamed on ESPN3.com.
Follow Florida State indoor volleyball on Seminoles.com as well as on the team's official Twitter (@FSU_Volleyball) and Facebook pages (Facebook.com/FSUVolleyball).