Sept. 20, 2006
CORAL GABLES, Fla. –
GAME SCORES: Florida State 3, Miami 2 (27-30, 30-24, 22-30, 30-12, 15-12)
Perhaps more than any sport, volleyball is a game of momentum. The Florida State University volleyball team seized the energy in game four and road it to 3-2 (27-30, 30-24, 22-30, 30-12, 15-12) victory over Miami in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Tuesday (Sept. 19).
With the victory, Florida State improved to 7-3 overall, 1-0 in the ACC as FSU won in Miami for the second year in a row after getting its first victory ever here last season. Miami dropped to 3-7 and 0-1 in the conference. The Seminoles moved to 3-2 in ACC openers under Todd Kress after losing their last two.
“It’s a huge in-state rival and to come down here, the first match in conference play and get a win, I couldn’t be prouder of our kids right now,” Kress said. “This is tough place to play. All in all it was a huge team effort across the board.”
Four different players posted double-digit kills, led by a career-best 19 from rookie outside hitter Malorie Wessel (West Chester, Ohio). Notching her second double-double in a row was senior middle blocker Sara Griffin (Hereford, Texas) with 16 kills and 15 digs. Next was outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass) at 14 kills while freshman Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) was next with a dozen.
Exceeding her career-high by one assist was setter Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) with 57. Leading strong defensive attack with a season-high 18 digs was libero Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) as she moved passed Latoya Washington for eighth in school history at 1,036 digs. FSU had a season-high 71 digs with Griffin and Tomic adding 15 each.
“Sarah has so much heart and soul out there,” Kress noted. “She went back and served the last four points with her jump serve and was aggressive with it. I thought Brianna turned the tide of the match, we were able to get the ball to her in the middle and she made some great plays.”
The match began with sloppy play as 10 of the first 15 points came from errors. The Seminoles settled down and established their first lead, 9-8, on a combined block by Griffin and Jessica Skower (Naples, Fla.), that would grow to as many as three (12-9). Both teams would take their turn in front as Miami had a three-point lead as late as 19-16, but the Seminoles rallied for five-straight points to take a 21-19 advantage.
FSU overcame three errors that gave Miami a 24-21 lead by scoring three of their own, including a pair of kills by Wessel, to tie it at 24. All square at 25, Miami took advantage of two scoring opportunities to build a 27-25 lead with Florida State getting no closer than a point before the Hurricanes went on to the 30-27 victory. Despite hitting .355 as a team, the Seminoles were outdone by Miami as the Hurricanes hit .410. Wessel was tops on the team with four kills and a .571 hitting percentage, while Griffin and Thompson had three kills a piece.
The Seminoles could not sustain any momentum in the early portion of game two as they would not score more than one point in a row until a Skower and Griffin block followed a Griffin kill to tie the match at 12-12. Wessel evened the match at 14 with a kill then a pair of winners by Barry gave FSU its first lead at 16-14.
Out of a Miami time out, Florida State would continue to go to Barry as she scored three points in an 8-3 run that gave FSU a 24-17 advantage. Miami would pull to within three (27-24) but Wessel would have a pair of kills and Barry and Tomic added a block for the 30-24 victory. The Seminoles did a better job of getting touches on the block, allowing them to dig more balls and drop Miami’s hitting percentage by 231 points to .179 in game two while they hit .354. Rookies Wessel and Barry had five kills a piece in the set to go along with four from Griffin and Thompson.
As good as the Seminoles looked in latter half of game two, they started game three the complete opposite. Eight Florida State errors and several missed scoring opportunities allowed Miami to build a 15-7 margin. A pair of Barry kills during Griffin’s serve got the Seminoles back to 22-17 and they would get to within four (20-24) but Miami fended off Florida State for the 30-22 victory.
Perhaps the biggest difference in the game was serving as Miami got nine points off Florida State service errors (four) and serve receive errors (five). Barry posted five kills for the second game in a row, while Thompson was the only other player on the team to record more than two with three.
“We weren’t playing good volleyball the first three games,” Kress added. “Serving is something we pride ourselves on and we had been serving the heck out of the ball, but we didn’t serve well until games four and five. That’s when we started to take them out and execute. Defensively the kids played with a lot of heart in games four and five.”
The Florida State team that won game two reappeared in the fourth stanza. The Seminoles established an early 8-4 lead thanks to several Miami miscues but completely stole the momentum as Tomic served eight-points in a row to give the Seminoles a 17-4 lead. Keying the run was three-straight Thompson kills. The lead would never dip below 12 points and grew to as many as 18 as FSU went on for the 30-12 victory. The 12 points scored by Miami were the lowest by an FSU opponent in a non game five since NC State was held to seven on October 17, 2004.
Florida State hit .583 as a team with Wessel pacing the way at five kills. Thompson and Griffin chipped in three kills each. FSU picked up the defense with an 11-9 advantage in digs to go along with three blocks.
A Skower kill gave Florida State an early 4-1 lead, but the Hurricanes would answer with a 6-1 run to give the hosts a 7-5 advantage. The two teams would trade points until back-to-back kills by Thompson and Griffin tied the match at ten but Miami won a long rally that gave it a 12-10 lead. The senior Griffin answered with a kill and an ace that tipped off the net to even the game at 12-12. Back-to-back Hurricane attack errors pushed the lead to 14-12 before a kill by Wessel completed the 5-0 run and ended the match at 15-12.
Florida State returns to Lucy McDaniel Court at Tully Gymnasium on Friday (Sept. 22) for a 7 p.m. contest against Maryland. The match can be seen on webcast by logging on to www.seminoles.com.