Nov. 21, 2008
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – It was the sweep to end all sweeps inside the Dean E. Smith Center as Florida State prevented North Carolina from clinching the ACC title with a huge 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-21) victory in Chapel Hill on Friday night. The Seminoles are now 21-8 overall and 13-6 in the conference as they extend their winning streak to six straight matches, and put a stop to the Tar Heels’ nine-match streak on their senior night. UNC slip a bit to 20-10 and 14-5 as FSU is now tied for second in the league with Duke and Miami.
“All of the girls played very hard tonight,” Seminole head coach Chris Poole said. “They were very focused and knew what they needed to do and they went out and did it.”
Florida State got out to an early lead, taking a 25-17 win in set one. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Richardson managed to get four kills on the floor and also led the squad with six digs and one solo block. As a team, the Seminoles out-hit the Tar Heels .310 to .139, out-blocked and recorded 17 kills to the home team’s mediocre nine in the first set.
FSU was on fire as it returned to the court, taking set two 25-20 and once again dominating in kills with 17 to UNC’s 10. Richardson doubled her kills from set one with eight in the second and added a few digs to her stat line. During junior Brianna Barry’s serve, points 12, 13 and 14 came from back-to-back-to-back service aces by the 6-foot-3 middle blocker which set a new career high.
During the break in the locker room, the Noles remained focused and took in every encouraging word given by coach Poole. Despite the rousing pep talk, the first point of set three went to UNC off a service error by junior Nikki Baker. But Baker’s teammate Barry would answer with a kill to start the chain of ties.
The Seminoles used North Carolina’s errors to their advantage and managed to stay a few points ahead of the Heels. Although the home team was able to get 15 kills on the court to Florida State’s 13, the Noles out-blocked four to two and notched fewer service and attacking errors. In fact, the match-winning point was an attack error by Tar Heel Suzanne Haydel that sealed the 3-0 sweep for the Garnet and Gold.
“They’re playing with a tremendous amount of confidence right now,” Poole said. “I think we’re as hot as any team in the country with the way we’re playing. And we’re still getting better every week. That’s really encouraging.
“I’m very proud of all of them, they all stepped-up and played hard tonight.”
Topping the squad on the offense was Richardson who recorded her 13th double-double of the season with 15 kills and 10 digs. The Ocala, Fla., native also notched a solo and an assisted block. Junior Jordana Price was the only other Seminole to ink double-digit kills with 13 and also had one solo and three assisted blocks.
Barry led in overall blocking, putting the stop to the Tar Heels’ attacks with three solo blocks which matches her career high along with two assisted. The junior also led the Noles with a .438 attack percentage and her three service aces.
Although the regular season road trip is over, the Seminoles must still host in-state rival Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 26, inside Tully Gym. A victory over the Hurricanes could very well mean a bid to the NCAA Tournament for Florida State, something the Noles haven’t seen since the 2002 season.