Sept. 26, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - The 17th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team shifts its focus to the all-important ACC season as it begins conference play on the road at Syracuse and Boston College this weekend.
The Seminoles (7-4) battle the Orange (5-7) in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, Sept. 28, at noon in a televised match. The match will be shown regionally on the East Coast on Time Warner Cable Sports, and it will also be video streamed on SUathletics.com. The cost for a 24-hour pass on the website is $6.95. The Saturday afternoon match will be the first-ever ACC match between the two schools.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, Florida State faces Boston College at noon in Chestnut Hill, Mass., inside Power Gym. The match will also be video streamed on Boston College's athletic website - bceagles.com. Florida State is looking for its 11th consecutive victory over the Eagles (8-2).
"At this point with preseason and pre-conference out of the way, all of the players have to grow up," head coach Chris Poole said. "They're not newbies anymore - they have to grow up and really handle the pressure we need to handle, going out on the road in conference. Taking care of business while we're home in the conference is going to be crucial to where we end up at the end of the year."
Since head coach Chris Poole took over the FSU program in 2008, Florida State is 3-2 in ACC openers. In that time span, all of Florida State's conference-opening matches have come against league rival Miami.
Playing against one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation, Florida State has out-blocked the opposition by a 107-85.5 margin. The `Noles are currently 38th nationally averaging 2.61 blocks per set.
In non-conference play, Florida State picked up three AVCA Top 25 wins over Michigan (7th), Western Kentucky (17th) and Kentucky (17th). The Seminoles' five-set win over Michigan on Sept. 14 marked the highest-ranked victory in program history.
The Seminoles have recorded eight double-doubles this season, with half of them coming from senior outside hitter Olivera Medic. The Subotica, Serbia, native is averaging 2.42 kills per set and 2.64 digs per set this season.
Over its last two seasons as back-to-back ACC champions in 2011 and 2012, Florida State is 18-4 on the road in conference play.
Sophomore outside hitter Nicole Walch's 3.73 kills per set are the most by a Seminole heading into ACC play since 2006 when former players Makini Thompson (3.79) and Sarah Griffin (3.75) averaged slightly more following preseason play.
There have already been four 20-kill performances this season for Florida State, the most in a season since 2010. Nicole Walch posted 23 kills vs. Auburn, 22 vs. Michigan and 21 vs. Long Beach State, while senior Elise Walch also had 22 kills vs. Michigan.
In two of her last three matches played heading into Syracuse, junior setter Sarah Wickstrom has established her career high with 37 assists. The Stuart, Fla., native originally set her career high against Michigan, and then matched it in FSU's last match at Auburn. Her previous career-best was 32 assists vs. Iowa State.
Syracuse junior outside hitter Nicolette Serratore leads the Orange with 132 kills and is attacking at a .226 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Silvi Uattara is hitting .287 to lead the Syracuse attackers. Syracuse has played three Top 25 teams this season, falling to Penn State, Louisville and most recently Purdue.
Sophomore Katty Workman is one of the top hitters in the ACC for the Eagles, averaging 4.22 kills per set. BC has held its opponents to just a .149 hitting percentage in its fast start to the season, aided by Melissa McTighe's 43 total blocks to lead the team.
Following the conference-opening weekend on the East Coast, Florida State will face Georgia Tech (Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.) and Clemson (Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.) in what will be the end of its nine-match trip away from Tallahassee.
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).