Sept. 8, 2006
COLMUBIA, S.C. –
GAME SCORES: No. 10 South California 3, Florida State 0 (22-30, 22-30, 26-30)
Florida State volleyball head coach Todd Kress is in the process of building his program into Top 25 squad and the young Seminoles got a taste of it takes to get to that level during the opening contest of the Gamecock Invitational. Florida State hung in with No. 10 Southern California, but in the end lost its first match of the season in a 3-0 defeat (22-30, 20-30, 26-30) on Friday (Sept. 8) at South Carolina’s Volleyball Competition Facility.
Florida State dropped to 5-1 on the season, while the Women of Troy improved to 7-0.
“We came out of the gate really strong, we just need to sustain our effort,” Kress said. “Obviously USC is a good team and they’re going to make adjustments, but we need to better our ball control. We were out of system a lot and we didn’t defend very well. If we’re going to stay in a high-level match we need to handle the ball a lot better than that.”
Notching her first double-digit kill performance of her career was rookie middle blocker Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) as she led the Seminoles will 11 kills. Topping the blocking effort was fellow middle Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) as she totaled four while Barry and outside hitter Jessica Skower (Naples, Fla.) added three each.
“I thought she was fired up, she played well all match,” Kress said of Barry. “A couple of times she got juked a bit on the block, but she transition well, she blocked better. For her, as a freshmen to be doing some of the things she did I thought she did a good job.”
Skower and outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) were next on the team with six kills with Skower hitting a team-best .333 (5-1-12). Setter Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) topped 30 assists for the third time this year with 35. Libero Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) had an FSU-best 12 digs.
The Seminoles stayed with USC for most of game one and took advantage of four Women of Troy errors to go a on a 5-0 run that gave FSU a 10-7 lead. Griffin was a big key to the early lead as recorded three kills and served four of the five points that got the Seminoles the lead. USC would go on a 5-0 run of its own to pull ahead but a pair of blocks by Thompson gave the advantage back to FSU at 15-14. Unfortunately that lead would be shorted lived as USC rattled off six-straight points for a 21-17 margin it would not relinquish as FSU dropped game one 30- 22.
Griffin had a team-high five kills in game one while Barry was next with four and a .429 hitting percentage. Tomic had 12 assists and Weissing contributed six digs. Florida State had more total blocks (5) in game one against the number ten team in the country than it did in the entire matches versus Eastern Illinois (4) and South Alabama (2).
The first two points scored in game two came off kills from Barry but the Women of Troy had already built a 6-2 lead by that point. After USC upped its the lead to ten points (16-6), a kill by Tomic would spark a four-straight points off Weissing’s serve to cut the margin to five (16-11). FSU would take advantage of USC errors and a kill by Jackie BonSalle (Albuquerque, N.M.) closed the gap to 21-19. USC would pull away down the stretch for the 30-22 victory. Barry tallied four kills for the game while Thompson added three.
Out of the intermission, the Seminoles came out firing as they built an early lead in game three. A pair of Skower kills and another from Barry made it a 6-3 advantage in Florida State’s favor. The Women of Troy would come back with an 11-2 run for the 14-8 lead. FSU would rally behind back-to-back kills from Tomic and Barry to close the lead to 19-16, but USC went on a 7-3 run to get the margin back to 26-19. FSU fought until the end as it found itself down 29-21, but reeled off five-straight points, including a pair of kills from BonSalle before succumbing 30-26.
“Definitely good effort, good energy but it came down to ball control,” Kress noted. “We have to serve and defend at a high level because that’s where we want to be.”
The Seminoles play their second match of the Gamecock Invitational at 5:30 p.m. Friday when they take on St. John’s. The Redstorm won their opener 3-2 over South Carolina.