Oct. 4, 2013
ATLANTA, Ga. (seminoles.com) – It was an offensive struggle for the 18th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team on Friday evening as it fell at Georgia Tech, 3-1 (25-20, 24-26, 17-25, 22-25), at a packed O’Keefe Gymnasium in what was FSU’s third conference match of the year.
The Seminoles (9-5, 2-1) became more reliant on the precise hitting of senior right-side hitter Elise Walch and middle blockers Ashley Neff and Sarah Burrington on Friday night. The Yellow Jackets (7-8, 1-2) were very active defensively and read and covered Florida State’s outside hitting attack extremely well for most of the match. FSU was able to muster just a .179 hitting percentage and was hurt by several offensive and defensive errors in the match.
“We played very flat and inconsistent tonight,” head coach Chris Poole said. “Overall, we had 44 errors and most of those were in the last three sets. We’ve embraced being on the road so far but it has taken its toll and we looked tired tonight. Credit Georgia Tech with a great crowd and playing a great match. We will regroup tomorrow and find a way to dig deep.”
Elise Walch put together her eighth double-digit kill performance this season when she posted 14 kills and just two errors as well as a .375 attack percentage. The Stuart, Fla., native was the one `Nole who consistently gave Georgia Tech trouble and bailed out FSU many times when it was in a tough situation.
Burrington registered a career-high 10 kills, recorded a .471 hitting percentage and added four blocks. Neff tacked on seven kills and a .375 hitting clip, and posted four blocks to give her 508 for her career to sit in sole possession of sixth place on the school list.
Redshirt junior libero Katie Mosher had another strong performance, keeping rallies alive with several difficult digs. The Fort Myers, Fla., native had 24 digs total.
FSU was unable to keep itself away from service errors, recording eight including a few that came in big situations. Georgia Tech recorded 15 service errors with its aggressive service style.
The Seminoles are now 5-3 on their current road trip, and fall to 15-29 all-time against the Yellow Jackets. FSU had not lost at O’Keefe Gymnasium since Oct. 3, 2008, winning its last four meetings in Atlanta heading into Friday’s match.
A key 5-0 run late in the first set sparked Florida State to a 25-20 win in the opening frame. With the set tied at 15-15 after FSU had to come back from behind early, the Seminoles used a few attack errors by the Yellow Jackets, a kill by Mara Green and a service ace by Nicole Walch to take a 20-15 advantage. After Elise Walch’s kill put FSU ahead 23-18, the Seminoles got some help with an attack error and a service error by Georgia Tech to finish the frame ahead.
The Seminoles lost their 10th set of the season by the minimum two-point differential in the second frame, falling 26-24. An attack error by the `Noles left them trailing 24-21, but they fought back and won three consecutive points on two kills from Elise Walch and a service ace by Olivera Medic. However, a couple of FSU hitting errors allowed the Yellow Jackets to tie the match at 1-1.
From the beginning of the third set, Georgia Tech owned FSU as it jumped out to a 7-1 lead and did not look back. Georgia Tech’s Jennifer Percy was effective against the `Noles with four kills and one block in the set.
Florida State attempted to push the match to five but was outdone by the Yellow Jackets in the fourth set. Both teams seemed to trade points throughout most of the set until Percy delivered another kill for the Yellow Jackets on a close line call to leave FSU trailing 18-16. From there, FSU never tied the set again and were bitten by a few untimely service errors in the frame. Georgia Tech’s Courtney Felinski ended the match on a kill to give FSU its first loss in the month of October since the 2010 season.
FSU finishes its nine-match road trip by facing Clemson on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. in Jervey Gym.
Follow Florida State indoor volleyball on Seminoles.com as well as on the team’s official Twitter (@FSU_Volleyball) and Facebook pages (Facebook.com/FSUVolleyball).