Dec. 6, 2009

Courtesy of Florida St.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 12 Florida State volleyball extended its historic season Sunday with a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 26-24, 25-22) of Jacksonville State in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Tully Gym.

With the win, the Seminoles (30-2) move on to the third round for the first time in program history and will face a Kentucky (29-4) team that - like FSU - has swept its way past its first two opponents.

Florida State and Kentucky will face off on Friday in Minneapolis, Minn. with the victor then playing against the winner of the Minnesota versus Colorado State match. Game times for the third round matches have yet to be announced.

The fourth round contest will take place on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and will air nationally on ESPNU.

Sunday against the Gamecocks (27-8), Florida State didn't make easy work of Jacksonville State despite what the final score said. FSU had to fight for every point they earned against a talented JSU team that won a thriller over Florida A&M the day before.

"They were serving very tough, which caused them to miss a lot because they knew they had to serve tough in order to pull us out of our offense," FSU head coach Chris Poole said. "We still offensively, I felt like we were able to hold up pretty well when we got the passing in and when we had control. It wasn't as clean as a game as what I would like for it to be, but at the same time, it's a win that we can kind of learn from, get better from and move on to the next round."

True freshman Fatma Yildirim guided FSU with 11 kills and 11 digs. Senior Jordana Price had nine kills and senior Mira Djuric and junior Stephanie Neville had eight kills each.

Neville's .571 hitting percentage led the team.

Senior Nikki Baker had 24 assists and junior Jenna Romanelli had 15 digs for the Seminoles, who hit .408 and didn't commit a service error.

At the postgame press conference following his team's 3-0 sweep of Alabama A&M on Saturday, Poole described Jacksonville State as a "scrappy team" and the Seminoles got to see that right away on Sunday.

The Gamecocks would just not go away in the opening game but FSU - behind four kills apiece from Yildirim, Neville and Morgan - was able to post the 25-18 triumph.

Then Jacksonville State gave the Seminoles a bit of a scare in the second set.

JSU boasted a 20-19 lead before true freshman Sareea Freeman's kill tied the score at 20-20. Two plays later, Yildirim's slam re-tied the game at 21-21.

Two straight Gamecocks points led to a Seminoles' timeout and FSU came back out swinging. Down 23-21, the 'Noles got back-to-back kills from Neville and Price. After JSU took the set to game-point, Djuric's kill tied it at 24-24, a block pushed it to 25-24 and then senior Brianna Barry's kill sealed the 26-24 second-set win.

Like the first two sets, the third and final one was a struggle -- but when it was all said and done, FSU emerged victorious as it reached an impressive 30 wins this season.

Stay tuned to for an announcement on Friday's match time.

"Certainly when we came in that was our intention to build a program that every year was a top 15 nationally recognized program and that's something we wanted to do right off," Poole said. "We've been lucky, blessed and had a lot of breaks to get where we are right now. Certainly we worked hard to try to get here but we know that we've got to continue to play well because when you're in this situation it's one and done. You have a bad match, you have some bad points, bad rallies and it can be over.

"Going up to Minnesota we know we're going to have to play well and we're going to have to be ready to battle a very, very good Kentucky team."