Nov. 3, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The 18th-ranked Florida State University indoor volleyball team gears up for a difficult home finish as it faces N.C. State on Friday evening at 7 p.m. followed by second-place UNC on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Tully Gym. Four senior student-athletes in Rachael Morgan, Jekaterina Stepanova, Patricia Figueiredo and Visnja Djurdjevic will be recognized prior to FSU's Friday night contest.
The Seminoles (19-4, 13-0) finish their regular-season home schedule against two schools that are having good seasons. The Tar Heels (19-5, 11-2) begin the weekend in second-place by two matches in the latest ACC standings, but must first face third-place Miami on Friday in a road matchup. The Hurricanes sit just outside the Top 25 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll.
N.C. State head coach Bryan Bunn has done a fine job turning around the Wolfpack (17-9, 5-8) in just his second season. Arguably FSU's toughest match this season came in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 9 when N.C. State took FSU to five sets before falling by a 15-13 score in set five.
Against the Wolfpack, FSU was saved by its blocking as it registered a season-best 26 team blocks. The total is the highest this year by any ACC team, with the next most being Maryland with 20 versus Sacred Heart. FSU's 26 blocks was also the most since head coach Chris Poole began in 2008.
FSU's victory at North Carolina in four sets was significant in that it was a battle of first-place teams with undefeated conference records. The win also gave FSU its best ACC start in school history with a 6-0 record as sophomore Ashley Neff led the way with a then-career high 12 blocks that was passed by her 14 blocks against N.C. State.
Should the Seminoles defeat both N.C. State and North Carolina this weekend, it would be the first time FSU finishes a regular season with an unblemished home record since joining the ACC in 1991.
The Tully Advantage
So far, the Seminoles have not allowed an ACC team to hit better than .226. In its 3-1 victory at Maryland on Oct. 21, the Terrapins produced the season high hitting percentage. Only two other ACC teams have hit above .200 against FSU, including Virginia (.216 on Sept. 23) and Miami (.205 on Sept. 14).
Getting to 20 Wins
If FSU can defeat N.C. State on Friday evening, the 2011 squad would tie as the fourth-fastest team to get to 20 victories with a 20-4 record, matching the 1981 team's mark in the days of the Metro Conference.
The school record for being the quickest to 20 wins was during the 1983, 1989 and 2009 seasons when it took just 22 matches by each club to reach the mark.