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Dec. 11, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (seminoles.com) - In what has been a season of enormous feats, the Florida State University indoor volleyball team has nearly reached the pinnacle as it defeated fourth-seeded Iowa State, 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11), on Saturday evening in Minneapolis to advance to its first-ever NCAA Final Four.
Never have the hard-working Seminoles (28-6) shown more resilience than Saturday evening when they faced a fifth set in which the Cyclones (25-6) were gaining tremendous momentum. FSU trailed in set No. 5 by a 4-1 margin before head coach Chris Poole called a timeout to settle his team down. From there, FSU reeled off three consecutive points, but later faced a deficit of 8-6. A four-point run, however, guided FSU to a 10-8 lead as Iowa State's Carly Jenson recorded an attack error to help FSU maintain its ambition of moving to the next round.
"The girls just kept hanging in there, kept playing hard," Poole said. "I think the sets that we won, our block did pretty well. Our sets that we lost, our block didn't do as well. So that was kind of the story of it, which we felt like coming up here that would make a difference if we could get our block going. You just have to give credit to our team first for the way they kept fighting, and certainly Iowa State didn't back down and kept fighting to try to make us have to work even harder. I'm very proud of the girls for the work that they've put in over the past year to get to this point."
FSU allowed the Cyclones to stay within striking distance after Victoria Hurtt recorded an important kill, but a 3-0 run ended the match as senior outside Visnja Djurdjevic recorded a kill and finished the match on the biggest play in school history - a service ace that sent FSU into euphoria as it celebrated the biggest win in program history.
With several student-athletes stepping up in what was an enormous atmosphere; perhaps the biggest performance came from junior middle blocker Sareea Freeman. The Fresno, Calif., native recorded a double-double with 12 kills, a .500 hitting percentage and 10 blocks. In the final 15-point set, Freeman dominated defensively with three blocks, including her final one that gave FSU a 12-10 advantage. She was named to the all-tournament team.