September 10, 2004 - by
FSU Volleyball Beats Oakland to Open Michigan/Pepsi Challenge

Sept. 10, 2004

ANN ARBOR, Mich. –

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Having successfully started the 2004 season a perfect 3-0 at home, it was time for the Florida State University volleyball team to take its act on the road. With their first game away from Lucy McDaniel Court under their belt, the Seminoles are still undefeated as they took down Oakland University 3-0 on Friday (Sept. 10) in the opening game of the Michigan/Pepsi Challenge.

The Tribe improved its record to 4-0 by posting game scores of 30-17, 30-23 and 30-19. The Golden Grizzles are still looking for their first win of the season as they fell to 0-3.

Wasting no time, the Seminole started the match with a 4-0 run and didn’t look back until the first game was over. Florida State’s points came in bunch as they had six different runs of three points or more throughout the game. The Seminoles put the game out of reach with their first double-digit lead of the day as they went on a 5-0 run, thanks in part to four Oakland errors to open a 17-7 lead.

The majority of FSU’s points in the first game came from a pair of sources. The first was the dominance of the Seminole offense, keyed by left side attacker Kristen Rust (Cincinnati, Ohio) and middle blocker Amanda Santos (Minas Gerais, Brazil). The duo accounted for nine of FSU’s points with Rust tallying five kills and Santos adding four more. Grizzle errors produced a large chunk of the Seminoles tally as OU committed 12 miscues.

Game two featured much of the same relentless attack by the Seminoles as the score quickly went from 4-3 on an FSU attacking error to 16-7 as the Tribe produced three streaks of three points or more. Getting into the scoring mix was freshman Danielle MacDonald (Holly Hill, Fla.) as she produced a trio of kills, while Rust added four more and Santos recorded three.

“Amanda plays hard no mater the day, occasion or team on the other side,” FSU head coach Todd Kress noted. “We know we’re going to get maximum effort from her every time she steps on the court. She’s our heart and soul on the court, she sets the standards and we need more people to give the same effort.”

One of the benefits that Kress has this season is improved depth and that was apparent in game three as three more players stepped up to record at least three kills. Sophomore Nikki Anthony (Pickens, S.C.) led the way with a game-high five kills, while senior Aisha Carr (Dallas, Texas) and sophomore Cassie McLaughlin (Cary, Ill.) added three apiece.

Despite the amplitude of kills – five different players recorded at least five kills – the Seminoles did not have their most accurate attack, hitting just .259. However, Florida State was able to make up for it with defense, stifling the Oakland offense to a .019 hitting percentage–the lowest rate in Kress’s two-plus seasons at FSU–while recording 54 digs and 17 total blocks.

“We made too many mistakes offensively,” Kress added. “It looked like we didn’t come into this match looking to improve. We tell our players that every time they stop on the court it’s opportunity to get better and tonight we missed on an opportunity. Defensively we did some nice things. Fifty-four digs in a three game match is a good step for us.”

The top hitter in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Santos only improved her percentage with her third match of over .600 as she tallied a career-high rate of .667 with nine kills on 12 attempts with one error. Rust equaled Santos with a game-high nine kills in just two games while McLaughlin hit .500. Setter Jessica Skower (Naples, Fla.) recorded a double-double with 34 assists and a career-high 12 digs.

Florida State returns to the court at the Cliff Keen Arena for two matches on Saturday. First up for the Seminoles is an 11 a.m. battle with Eastern Michigan, followed by a 7 p.m. contest against the host Wolverines.

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