NCAA Volleyball ACCtion: Friday, December 2

Seminoles Moving On

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ( - Another entertaining performance by Florida State volleyball player Jekaterina Stepanova highlighted FSU's 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-23) victory over Albany in the first round of the NCAA women's volleyball championship on Friday evening at Tully Gym.

Stepanova's 16 kills and nine digs highlighted FSU's hitting percentage of .333 as it won its sixth NCAA Tournament match in school history. The Seminoles (25-6) have won three first-round matchups in the last three seasons as they continue to emerge as one of the nation's fastest-rising volleyball programs.

The victory for FSU means it will face Cincinnati on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. at Tully Gym in the second round. The Bearcats (27-9) won their opening round match versus Samford in five sets. The victor of Saturday's match will earn a spot in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Seminoles have now won 10 of their 13 matches in Tully Gym by 3-0 sweeps this season. FSU now advances to the second round for just the fourth time in school history.

Whenever needed, Stepanova rose to the occasion on Friday evening with acrobatic kills that ignited the crowd. The Latvia native finished with a .467 hitting percentage, and was set up nicely by setters Sarah Wickstrom (21 assists) and Duygu Duzceler (16 assists). Stepanova continues to play a vital role in FSU's receiving game, managing nine digs.

Redshirt freshman Katie Mosher made history in FSU's first-round match when she broke the school's single-season digs record. Mosher produced 17 digs to reach 515 for the season, passing previous leader's Summer Weissing's total of 513 in 2005.

Miami Defeats Northern Illinois in NCAA Tournament

AMES, Iowa - Christine Williamson placed 18 kills while hitting at a .630 clip to help lead the 25th-ranked University of Miami past Northern Illinois, 3-1, in opening round action of the NCAA Tournament inside Hilton Coliseum on Friday evening. The match was the first of the Ames [Iowa] bracket in the Minneapolis [Minn.] Regional.

The Canes collected the win on scores of 25-17, 21-25, 25-12 and 26-24.

The Canes used Williamson's 18 kills and four blocks, while the Tampa finished with a match-high .630 hitting percentage. Carico finished with 15 kills and 11 digs for her 12th consecutive double-double. Johnson also finished in double figures for kills with 11, adding 13 digs for her seventh double-double of the campaign.

Setter Katie Gallagher handed out a match-high tying 47 assists and picked up 16 digs for the double-double effort. Libero Ryan Shaffer sprawled out for 22 digs while teammate Sims recorded a match-high six blocks.

The Hurricanes will now face host and No. 4 overall seed Iowa State on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Central. The Cyclones defeated the UW-Milwaukee Panthers by a 3-0 count on scores of 25-19, 25-23 and 25-23.

Carolina Falls To No. 15 Seed Pepperdine

MALIBU, Calif. - North Carolina fell, 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22) to the No. 15 overall national seed Pepperdine (24-6) in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Firestone Fieldhouse. Junior outside hitter Emily McGee compiled 18 kills, bringing her career total to 1,004, and sophomore Kayla Berringer pitched in 17 kills. The Tar Heels finish the year at 24-9, the 11th 20-win season under Joe Sagula's tutelage.

Pepperdine hit .448 in the opening set, racing out to a five-point lead (12-7), capped by a kill from Kim Hill. The Waves went ahead by as many as six at 21-15, before the Tar Heels rallied to trim the deficit to three (23-20), following back-to-back kills by Emily McGee. Pepperdine took the next two scores, closing out set one (25-20) on a Carolina attack error. McGee registered seven kills in set one on a .667 attack efficiency and Kaylie Gibson added five digs.

The Waves went up by five (7-2) to begin the third set and led for most of the frame. Trailing by three (19-16), UNC forged a 4-0 run, highlighted by three kills from McGee to pull ahead by one (20-19). The Naperville, Ill., native tallied her 1,000th kill to during the spurt on an assist from Erica Behm. Pepperdine responded with a 6-3 run to close out the set, winning set and match point (25-22) on a Tar Heel attack error.

The Tar Heels finish their 2011 campaign with 24 victories and have advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament three out of the last four years.