NCAA Volleyball ACCtion: Saturday, December 3

Dec. 4, 2011

How Sweet It Is!

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - With their backs against the wall late in the match, the 12th-seeded Florida State University indoor volleyball team managed to overcome a five-set struggle with Cincinnati and win a highly entertaining bout, 3-2 (25-23, 16-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13), to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 on Saturday night at Tully Gym.

The exciting victory is another significant milestone for a program that has achieved so much not just in 2011 but since the arrival of head coach Chris Pooleand his staff in 2008. FSU advances to the NCAA Regional Semifinals for the second time in the last three seasons, and has won six of their seven NCAA postseason matches under the guidance of Poole.

Opposite the Seminoles (26-6) on Saturday evening was an athletic, relentless Bearcats (27-10) squad that set their tempo for nearly the entire match and jeopardized FSU's undefeated streak in Tully Gym. FSU, which finishes with a 14-0 mark this season at its historic facility, overcame several deficits throughout the match before emerging victorious.

The fifth set was a wild affair that included several runs that swayed momentum noticeably. An attack error by Cincinnati outside hitter Jordanne Scott gave FSU an early 4-1 lead in the final frame, but following a timeout the Bearcats stormed back with three consecutive points before being stalled by a service error from Missy Harpenau. However, Cincinnati won the next two points to build a 6-5 lead before Elise Walch'skill tied the set once again.

The contest turned quickly into Cincinnati's favor when it won four of the next five points, capped by a kill from Megan Turner, to take a 10-7 lead. However, FSU bounced right back with the crowd fiercely behind it by winning four consecutive points, as a critical block by Sareea Freeman and Rachael Morgan gave the Seminoles an 11-10 lead. FSU built a 13-11 advantage on a clutch kill by Visnja Djurdjevic, but Cincinnati struck back with two straight points.

The match would then be decided over the next two rallies as Djurdjevic put down a kill to make it 14-13. Jekaterina Stepanova, who has shouldered much of the offensive burden down the stretch, ended the match after another long rally resulted in a short kill from the Latvia native at the net, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Canes Fall to Iowa State in NCAA Tournament

AMES, Iowa - Three Iowa State players registered double-digit kills as the homestanding No. 4 seed Cyclones held off 25th-ranked University of Miami, 3-0, in second round action of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament Saturday evening inside Hilton Coliseum.

Miami fell in straight sets to the Cyclones on scores of 25-21, 25-10 and 25-14.

The Hurricanes (26-5) were unable to slow down a strong Iowa State attack against a taller team Saturday night. The Canes hit a season-low .087 while allowing Iowa State (24-5) hit at a .328 clip.

Miami finishes the season with its highest ever finish in Atlantic Coast Conference play in second place while bringing home the first NCAA Tournament win since 2002. Carico was named ACC Player of the Year, joined by redshirt senior setter Katie Gallagher and senior middle blocker Ali Becker on the All-ACC Team.

Iowa State was led in the match by Straube with a match-high 12 kills, joined by teammates Jenson (11) and Hurtt (10) in double figures for kills.

Miami was aided by Johnson's team-high nine kills, eight digs and three blocks. Carico finished with seven kills and eight digs, while Sims added four kills and a match-high four blocks.