November 22, 1998
COLLEGE PARK, MD – The third-seeded Lady Seminole volleyball team rolled past top-seed North Carolina 15-8, 15-1, 15-10 Sunday afternoon to earn its first Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball championship since joining the league in 1991. The win propelled Florida State to 25-10 overall and earned the Lady Seminoles an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. North Carolina fell to 28-7 on the year.
Outside hitters Holly Schneider and Jennifer Werrick combined for 11 kills and 12 digs in game one for the Lady Seminoles. Florida State posted a 5-0 lead off the serve of the Werrick and ran its advantage to 11-1 behind strong offensive play from Schneider. Senior Sarah Rickertsen notched eight of FSU’s 32 digs in the game as the Lady Seminole defense controlled the tempo, holding off a late North Carolina rally to win 15-8. A Fiona Bolten ace and an Aisha Thornton kill gave Florida State an early 2-0 lead in the second game. But after North Carolina scored its first point on a kill from Tori Seibert, the Lady Seminoles rolled off the final 13 points of the game on the strength of five more kills from Thornton and clutch blocks from Schneider and middle hitter Susan Hawks for a 15-1 game two victory.
Florida State extended its consecutive points streak into game three, taking a 5-0 lead before the Tar Heels scored on an FSU attack error. North Carolina regrouped and closed to within one at 11-10, but the Lady Seminoles took a 13-10 lead off a pair of Tar Heel miscues. Werrick then blasted a pair of attacks off of the North Carolina block to start the FSU celebration as the Lady Seminoles won the match with a 15-10 win.
“We were on a roll this weekend,” said FSU head coach Dr. Cecile Reynaud after the match. “All aspects of our game were working very well which is what it takes to win the title. “We have wanted this championship for so long at FSU,” said Reynaud, “Especially for our five seniors, to look at them and know that we actually won is wonderful.”
Bolten, Florida State’s senior setter from Tampa, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament. Seniors Schneider and Hawks joined her on the All-Tournament Team.
“We all came out determined,” said Bolten, “Every single person on our team played so well. We all wanted this in our hearts.” With a team-leading 15 kills and 19 digs, Schneider tallied her 21st double-double of the year. Werrick notched her 16th double-double of 1998 with 11 kills and 14 digs. Each recorded a double-double in all three tournament matches for the Lady Seminoles, each an FSU sweep. Hawks added 11 kills and 5 blocks while Thornton chipped in 10 kills and pair of blocks. Rickertsen ended the day with 11 digs. As a team, FSU outhit UNC .295 to .108 while outdigging the Tar Heels 69-45. The ACC Championship is the first for the Lady Seminoles in three appearances in the tournament finals. Duke downed Florida State in the final round in both 1992 and 1993.
Florida State will now await word from the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee as to its first round opponent and match site. Selections will be announced next weekend.