Nov. 13, 2011
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DURHAM, N.C. (Seminoles.com) – The 17th-ranked Florida State University indoor volleyball team’s unprecedented winning streak in conference play came to an end on Sunday afternoon as it fell at Duke, 3-2 (20-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-22, 7-15), at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
FSU entered the contest with a 16-0 record in ACC play and attempted to become the first squad in conference history to show a 17-0 mark. However, the Blue Devils (18-8, 12-5) limited the Seminoles (22-5, 16-1) to a .191 hitting percentage and rode the hot hitting of Christiana Gray and her 20 kills to snap FSU’s streak.
Sophomore right-side hitter Elise Walch led FSU offensively, garnering 15 kills and a .333 hitting percentage while adding four blocks. The Stuart, Fla., native recorded her second-most kills while at FSU since totaling 16 versus Northern Iowa on Sept. 2.
Setter Sarah Wickstrom posted 26 assists in the match, while Duygu Duzceler had 25. Libero Katie Mosher had 23 digs to reach 458 for the season and move into eighth-place on the FSU single-season list, moving past Luiza Ramos (1992).
FSU now has a two-match lead over second-place Miami with three matches remaining in the regular season. The Hurricanes show a 14-3 conference record and also fell to FSU, 3-0, on Sept. 14 in Tallahassee. If Miami goes undefeated in its last three matches, the Seminoles would need to win two of their last three matches, which include road matchups at Clemson and Georgia Tech next weekend.
Known as one of the top defensive units in the nation, FSU out-blocked the Blue Devils by a 13-11 margin. Sophomore middle blocker Ashley Neff recorded a team-high eight blocks, while junior Sareea Freeman added five.
With the first four sets split, Duke happened to make the big plays in the decisive fifth set. The Blue Devils, which hit .250 for the match, raised their level of play in the final frame with a .316 hitting percentage. FSU could not find its rhythm and faced a quick 8-2 deficit following a kill by Gray.
Walch responded with a kill, but FSU could never mount any sort of run to get back into the set. The match ended on a kill by Sophia Dunworth, who contributed with 18 kills and 12 digs.
FSU faces a crucial stretch next week as it faces Clemson on Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.com. The road swing continues with a Saturday match at Georgia Tech beginning at 6 p.m.