Nov. 22, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - The biggest match of the season awaits between No. 12 Florida State volleyball and No. 23 Miami with the winner being named the ACC champion on Friday at 1 p.m. at Tully Gym.
The matchup will be streamed on ESPN3.com with Tom Block handling the play-by-play and Cecile Reynaud doing the color commentary.
Friday's match between the Seminoles (26-3, 17-2) and Hurricanes (25-4, 17-2) will determine the ACC championship since both teams hold identical 17-2 records in conference play. If Florida State delivers a win, it would be their fourth ACC championship and their third under head coach Chris Poole (2009, 2011). An ACC team has not won consecutive conference titles since Maryland in 2003-05.
"I think this is great for ACC volleyball to see two teams from the state of Florida who have battled hard all season," head coach Chris Poole said. "They were able to get the best of us early in the year and now we'll try to come back and we play for the ACC championship in a winner-takes-all match on Friday."
Florida State's final regular season match also marks senior day for Duygu Duzceler, Sareea Freeman, Marija Milosavljevic and Fatma Yildirim. The senior class has combined to win 107 total matches, the seventh-most in school history and the most by an FSU senior class playing in the ACC.
The four seniors make up a ground-breaking class for Florida State. Duzceler, Freeman and Yildirim all arrived on campus in 2009 for their freshman seasons, helping lead the Seminoles to their first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance.
The following season in 2010, Milosavljevic joined and bolstered the front line. The four student-athletes were part of Florida State's first-ever NCAA Final Four squad, which was also the first ACC team to ever go that far.
The promotion of the Miami-Florida State match will be free shakers passed out to fans in attendance.
The Seminoles have won 25 consecutive matches at Tully Gym and continue to shatter the previous mark of 18 held by the 1981 team. Coincidently, their last loss at home came at the hands of Miami on Nov. 26, 2010 in a dramatic five-set match.
Florida State's match against 23rd-ranked Miami will be the second straight time Miami has come to Tully Gym as a nationally-ranked opponent. Last season, the Seminoles defeated then-No. 20 Miami 3-0 in front of an ESPNU national audience. Florida State is searching for its 22nd win over a nationally-ranked opponent in the school's history.
Florida State moved up another spot in the latest RPI standings that heavily determine NCAA Tournament seeding, sitting in ninth. If the Seminoles host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championship again they will have hosted in three of the last four years (2009, 2011, 2012).
The Seminoles received plenty of good news on Wednesday when junior middle blocker Ashley Neff became the second Florida State volleyball student-athlete to be named ACC Player of the Year. Freeman and Yildirim joined Neff on the All-ACC Team.
One of Florida State's two losses in conference play this season came at Miami on the road on Sept. 7, falling 3-1. The Seminoles are 20-17-1 overall against the Hurricanes and 6-6 vs. Miami at home.
The Hurricanes boast six players on the All-ACC Team, tying a conference record. They include junior outside hitter Taylor Hollins, junior right side Alex Johnson, sophomore middle blocker Alexis Mourning, junior libero Ryan Shaffer, sophomore middle blocker Emani Sims and senior setter Nrithya Sundararaman.
With the NCAA Selection Show looming this Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU, the Seminoles are assured of a bid and are even looking to host once again. When Florida State is announced in the Field of 64, it will extend its NCAA postseason streak to four consecutive years. Since joining the ACC in 1991, the longest streak the Seminoles held previously were separate two-year streaks from 1992-93 and 1997-98 under legendary head coach Cecile Reynaud.
The fourth straight bid for Florida State will tie a school record for consecutive NCAA championship appearances, which previously occurred from 1987-90 when the Seminoles had Gabrielle Reece roaming in front of the net.