Oct. 14, 2006
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –
GAME SCORES: Florida Sate 3, Virginia 0 (30-26, 30-27, 32-30)
One night after matching its win total from a year ago, the Florida State University volleyball team firmly supplanted itself as a contender in the race for the Atlantic Coast Conference title. The Seminoles showed tremendous poise in critical times late in the all three games as they came away with a 3-0 sweep (30-26, 30-27, 32-30) of Virginia on Saturday (October 14).
Florida State ran its winning streak to four matches – and won for the eighth time in nine matches — as it improved to 14-4 overall and continued the school’s best ACC start with an 8-1 mark. The win was FSU’s first at Virginia since 2002 and its first sweep in Charlottesville since 1993. The Cavaliers dropped to 13-6 overall, 6-4 in the league as they lost at home for the first time in 2006.
“Our team played with so much heart tonight,” FSU head coach Todd Kress said. “I told them their heart and desire came through when it was tight in games one, two and three. It’s so much fun to see that and see how hungry they are. It was really exciting down the stretch in all three games, but their execution, heart and desire down the stretch was the difference.
“I don’t care what conference you’re in, it’s so tough to win on the road because you have so many factors going against you. I think it’s even harder to win the second night because the first night both teams are pretty even, but on the second night with all the traveling you have to do to and from, I’m so proud of the way our kids executed tonight.”
Tying for the team lead were rookies Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) and Jackie BonSalle (Albuquerque, N.M.) with 13 kills each. Junior outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) was next at 11 winners, while senior middle blocker Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) followed with 10. Setter Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) added 47 assists.
Leading an FSU defensive charge that out-dug Virginia 47-34 was junior libero Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) with a baker’s dozen. Weissing is only 11 digs away from taking over third place in school history. Barry led the way with four blocks, while senior Jessica Skower (Naples, Fla.) had three blocks and nine digs.
Florida State out-hit Virginia .378 (56-11-111) to .316 (60-17-136) thanks to three players hitting .400 or better. Leading the way was Griffin at .692 (10-1-13), while Barry was close behind at .688 (13-2-16). Serving was another key to the match as UVA committed 11 service errors to go along with six FSU aces. Leading the way was Thompson as she had a career-high five after coming into the match with a career total of four.
“Jackie was a game-time decision, versus Virginia we wanted to get a little bit bigger block out there on the right side and slow them down on the slide because they can almost score at will back there,” Kress noted. “Jackie had a big match, she had some critical swings and Bri (Barry) has some big swings and came up with some big blocks.
“The thing I like about our freshmen is that they play almost unconscious. They don’t think about the importance of the match or anything like that, they just do their job and execute. We wouldn’t be here without everyone contributing, but we’ve got a ton of contribution out of the freshmen.”
After a kill knotted game one at 9-9, the Seminoles took a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Back-to-back kills by Skower made it 12-9 in FSU’s favor and the Seminoles opened their first four-point margin, 14-10, on a block by Barry and BonSalle. The Cavaliers pulled even at 20-20, but Florida State got the margin it needed on kills by Griffin and Barry then opened a 27-24 lead on a BonSalle kill. UVA rallied to get within a point (27-26), but Barry sandwiched a pair of kills around a winner by Tomic to give Florida State the 30-26 victory.
The rookie BonSalle was tops on the team with five kills, while Thompson and Barry were just one back. Weissing added five digs. Florida State held a .386 (20-3-44) to .227 (19-6-47) advantage in hitting percentage. Barry, Griffin and Skower had two blocks each as FSU out-blocked UVA 4-0.
Early in game two both teams took their turns with three-point leads with Virginia going on a 4-1 run to erase FSU’s 7-4 advantage. From that point there would be 11 ties with the last coming at 22-22 on a UVA kill. Griffin broke the deadlock with a kill then Thompson came through with an ace to give FSU a two-point cushion (24-22). The margin would remain at deuce until out of Virginia timeout, a Tomic killed followed by a Virginia attacking error opened a four-point (28-24) FSU lead. Barry made it 29-25 with a kill then Thompson ended the game with a winner for the 30-27 decision.
BonSalle and Griffin were the only two players with more than a pair of kills as they tied for the team lead at four. The Seminoles got ten points off their aces and UVA service errors. Florida State won the game despite being out-hit by the Cavaliers .405 (21-4-42) to .323 (15-5-31). BonSalle led the way with four kills
The host had an early edge at the start of game three, but it would short lived as the Seminoles tied the match at 10-10 to start the third see-saw battle of the night. After an 11-11 tie, it looked like the Cavaliers were going to take a game thanks to FSU miscues. Four Seminole errors gave Virginia a 16-13 lead it would hold as late as 25-24 until UVA gave one back with an attack error that followed a Barry kill to give FSU its first lead since 1-0 at 26-25. From there, the two teams waited to see who would be the first to flinch as they traded four kills each. Tied at 30-30, the Cavaliers committed a service error then Barry came through with a kill to hand FSU the match 32-30.
More than half of Barry’s kills came in the final stanza as she produced a game-high seven kills. Thompson was next at five, while BonSalle chipped in four more winners. Weissing was strong defensively with a half dozen digs. Florida State had its best attacking game of the night with a .417 (21-6-36) to .227 (20-7-47) edge in hitting percentage.
The Seminoles return to Lucy McDaniel Court next week to start a three-match home stand. The first contest is a 7 p.m. bout on Tuesday (October 17) against Miami. The match will be broadcast on Sun Sports.