After a six-point Baylor (4-4) win in the fourth set knotted the match at two sets apiece, the two teams battled through eight ties to reach a 10-10 deadlock in the fifth frame. Burkert delivered a clutch service ace and Horton followed with a kill to give Florida State a two-point edge. The Bears answered with a kill from Ashley Fritcher and took advantage of a Seminole unforced error, bringing the set to a climatic 12-all tie.
The momentum swung back in favor of Florida State with a pair of unforced errors by Baylor after a series of unforced errors. One late kill by Katie Staiger was not enough to deter the Seminoles who closed out their third five-set win of the season with an attack error by the Bears’ Aniah Philo.
“I am disappointed in the way that we started out the first set because we need to learn to come out to play much more aggressive,” said head coach Chris Poole. “But to Baylor’s credit they did a great job in taking us out of our offense with the pressure that they were putting on our defense. We need to be better and more consistent tomorrow in order to be successful.”
Facing a 2-1 deficit heading into the fourth set, Baylor regrouped in the opening stages of the frame and jumped out to an 8-3 lead behind three kills by Katie Staiger and service aces from the combination of Tara Wulf and Alex Banister.
Two kills each by Green and Horton kept Florida State within striking distance as the Seminoles trailed 16-12 before spending their first timeout. Green and Burkert penetrated the Bear defense with a back-to-back kills and following a Kubura service ace the Seminoles were within one point, 16-15, as they forced a timeout. Baylor regained its composure during the breather and ended the set on a 9-4 run highlighted by two kills by Camryn Freiberg.
Highlighted by four kills from Ambrose, Florida State assumed a 16-3 advantage in the early stages of the third set. Joining Ambrose among front row contributors during the offensive explosion for the Seminoles were Keil and Kubura, who had two kills and one service ace apiece.
Baylor cut into the Seminoles’ double-digit lead with three kills by Staiger and two service points from Philo, as the two teams were separated by a 19-13 margin. At that point FSU’s senior duo of Keil, who contributed her third kill of the frame, and Horton, who was responsible for four service points down the stretch, closed the door on the Bears.
Florida State capitalized on eight unforced errors by the Bears and used kills by Keil, Ambrose and Green to open up a 12-5 lead in the early stages of the second set.
Leading by seven following the second Baylor timeout, the Seminoles quickly added to their lead with back-to-back kills by Burkert and Keil. Those strikes, along with three powerful kills from Kubura, extended the Florida State lead to 20-10, as the Noles knotted the match at 1-1 heading into the intermission.
Staiger drove home three kills and Philo contributed a kill and a service ace to offset four unforced Baylor errors and pair of strikes by Keil as the Bears established a 14-8 lead early in the first set, resulting in the second of Florida State’s timeout.
The Bears defense kept Florida State off-balance and in the process Baylor stretched its lead to 20-12 following an unforced Seminole error and a service ace by Staiger. The Noles made one final push, using a kill by Brianne Burkert and a pair of service points by Bozena Culo to move within 20-16, but Baylor score five of the final seven points to complete the win.
Florida State returns to action in the Home2 Suites by Hilton-Tallahassee Seminole Tournament for a pair of matches on Friday to face Florida A&M (1 p.m.) and Little Rock (7 p.m.).
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