Aug. 25, 2006
MACON, Ga. –
GAME SCORES: Florida State 3, Mercer 0 (30-17, 30-28, 30-17)
Given the youth on this year’s Florida State volleyball team, head coach Todd Kress is looking for his squad to make improvements every match. In Friday’s (August 25) contest at Mercer the Seminoles got a lesson in how to fight back. Instead of letting the Bears come back to tie the match at one game a piece, FSU mounted a comeback to win game two and go on to the 3-0 sweep (30-17, 30-28, 30-17).
The win was the Seminoles’ second of the day as they improved to 2-0 on the year. FSU beat Mississippi Valley State earlier in the day. Mercer starts the year at 0-1.
“That was the turning point of the match,” Kress said of the game two come back. “To come back like that, on their home court, was huge for us. This time of the year you want to face adversity and still come out on the positive end and we got out of it exactly what we wanted to. Mercer made us work but we were able to out and get that second game which was the turning point in the match”
The hosts got their only lead in game one on the first point then freshman Malorie Wessel (West Chester, Ohio) served eight-straight points to give FSU an 8-1 advantage. During the run, the rookie outside hitter had a trio of aces. Another 8-2 stretch by the Seminoles, which included kills by four different players, pushed the lead to 16-4.
Mercer would not get any closer than nine points with FSU building the lead to 13 on four occasions, including the final score 30-17. Leading the way with five kills and a .625 hitting percentage in game one was rookie middle blocker Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.). Wessel ended the game with four aces.
Game two was nearly the complete opposite as after FSU built a 6-4 lead, the Bears went on a 14-4 run to take an 18-10 lead that was helped by five Seminole errors. Three kills by outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) helped FSU pull to within five (20-15) then FSU went on a 9-5 run to make it 24-25 on Wessel’s fifth kill in seven points.
The two teams traded points, but with Mercer two points away from winning the game, setter Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) came up with a kill then followed with a service ace to tie the match at 28-28. Out of a Mercer timeout, middle blocker Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) and Thompson came through with back-to-back kills that completed a 15-8 run tot give Florida State game two 30-28.
`We were very clean in game one for this time of the year, we played good defense and took them out of their offense,” Kress noted. “Game two was just the opposite; we came out flat and we put ourselves in a hole.”
Florida State made sure there would be no doubt about game three thanks to strong play at the net. Early in the game it was the play of Thompson as she recorded three kills to help FSU to a 7-4 lead. Griffin got into the act as she accounted for six of FSU’s next 11 points as the Seminoles pushed the lead to 18-10.
Back-to-back blocks gave Florida State its first 10-point lead of the game (22-12). Three of the last eight points came from Barry kills then Alex Plummer (Woodbury, Minn.) came through with a pair of aces to end the match with final score of 30-17.
“This year it’s a team,” Kress commented. “We have a team this year that works together, they enjoy each other, there is good team chemistry and when they’re out there fighting for each other a lot of good things are going to happen.”
Three players reached double-digit kills with Wessel posting a match-high 12. Griffin notched the first double-double of the year with 10 kills and 11 digs. Barry tied Griffin with 10 winners. Tomic was tops on the squad with 37 assists and Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) led the way with 14 digs.
As a team, Florida State hit over .300 in games one and three with an overall rate of .296, compared to .141 by the Bears. The Seminoles also held a big advantage in blocks with a 10-4 margin.
Florida State returns to Tallahassee next week to play host to the FSU Invitational, Sept. 1. The host school opens play on Friday (Sept. 1) at 7 p.m. against Stetson.