Sept. 9, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. –
After two tough losses to open the Gamecock Invitational, the Florida State volleyball team could have folded up the tents against the tournament host. Instead, the Seminoles showed the fight that was missing on Friday as they beat South Carolina 3-2 (30-28, 21-30, 30-17, 28-30, 15-13) on Saturday (Sept. 9) at UCS’s Volleyball Competition Facility.
Florida State improved its record to 6-2 on the year. Last season FSU didn’t record its sixth victory until October 28. The Gamecocks were winless in their own tournament as they fell to 7-4.
Driving the FSU offense was outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) as she recorded a career-high 21 kills and a .409 hitting percentage on her way to all-tournament honors. Also setting a career-high was setter Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) as she contributed 56 assists. Joining Thompson with double digit kills were middle blockers Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) and Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) as they contributed 17 and 11, respectively.
Led by Barry, who had a match-high four total blocks, Florida State out-blocked USC 13-9 as five different players had four or more blocking assists. Griffin had nine digs and Tomic added eight.
A 5-1 run that included three kills from Thompson helped the Seminoles establish an early 10-5 lead. Also aiding Florida State was several USC errors as the lead remained at five (15-5) thanks to four Gamecock miscues. South Carolina would pull to within two (17-15) but a pair of USC serving errors and a combined block by Skower and Griffin gave FSU a six-point advantage (23-17) that it would increase to seven (27-20) on a Barry kill. South Carolina would use a late run to pull within one (29-28) but a Thompson kill would give Florida State the game 30-28.
Leading the FSU attack was Thompson as she hammered home five kills and hit .833 (5-0-6). The Seminoles hit .467 as a team. Griffin and Skower added four kills a piece and Tomic had 14 assists.
The beginning of game two consisted of several runs with the lead changing hands four times before USC used a 4-0 run to establish an 8-6 lead. A Thompson kill, followed by a block and Tomic ace would tie the game at 13-13 with the two teams trading points before the Gamecocks ran off three-straight to regain the 20-17. Florida State could not recover as USC went on a 10-2 run before closing the game out at 30-21.
Passing woes plagued the Seminoles as they were out-dug 13-3 by USC. As a result, Florida State hit just .031 during the game as Thompson (four kills) and freshman Jackie BonSalle (Albuquerque, N.M.) – two — as the players with more than one kill.
Returning to how it opened the first game, FSU came out of the intermission and established a 5-1 lead that grew to 9-2 on a pair of kills by Thompson and Griffin. The Gamecocks pulled to within four (10-6), but the freshmen duo of Barry and BonSalle would account for six points as the lead grew to 11 (18-7) on a BonSalle kill. USC would not threaten the rest of the game as the lead only dipped to nine before FSU prevailed 30-17.
The passing problems of game two were reversed as FSU translated 18 digs – including five by Tomic — into a .545 hitting percentage. Barry led the way with five kills while Thompson and Griffin added four to go along with three from BonSalle.
Game four started out as a back and fourth affair with nine ties and seven lead changes before USC established a 12-9 lead on a trio of FSU errors. Three times the Seminoles would close to within one point, including 14-13, but USC went on a 4-0 run to build a 15-13 lead. Florida State fought to get back in the match as Tomic rattled off five points on her serve with four kills from Thompson to tie it at 27, but the Seminoles couldn’t complete the comeback, losing game four 30-28.
Service errors doomed FSU, including one at 27-27, as it committed seven service miscues. Griffin came through with six kills, while Thompson added five.
The fifth and final game started tight with six ties and three lead changes until the Gamecocks took an 8-6 lead on a pair of kills. Florida State battled back to take the next three points, including a block to regain the lead 9-8. An attack error by USC gave FSU a two-point cushion (10-8) that it would expand to 12-9 on a kill by Thompson. The match appeared to be over when FSU took a 14-10 lead on a Barry kill, but the hosts fought back to 14-13 before a Thompson kill ended the game and the match 15-13.
Florida State returns to Lucy McDaniel Court at Tully Gymnasium Tuesday (Sept. 12) to take on No. 9 Florida at 7 p.m. The match will be broadcast by Sun Sports.