TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – (Seminoles.com) – The seventh-ranked Florida State (8-0) indoor volleyball team fought for a pair of wins on Saturday at Tully Gym in the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational. The Seminoles first defeated Central Arkansas in straight sets (25-11, 25-18, 25-17) before grinding out a 3-1 victory over LSU (19-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-16).
Florida State won the tournament with a 3-0 record, while Central Arkansas was second (2-1) and LSU was third (1-2). Samford finished fourth (0-3). Junior outside hitter Nicole Walch, redshirt sophomore middle blocker Sarah Burrington and redshirt senior libero Katie Mosher were named to the All-Tournament Team for their consistent play throughout the weekend.
The 8-0 start to the season is the first since 1997, when the Seminoles came out 12-0 before dropping their first match to third-ranked Florida.
Both captains surpassed milestones during the double-header as senior setter Sarah Wickstorm moved into ninth place on the FSU All-Time Assists list with a new total of 2,326 passing Maureen McCarthy who amassed 2,297 during the 1994-96 season.
Wickstrom tallied 36 assists on the day, putting up 17 in the win over the Sugar Bears before adding 19 against LSU.
Mosher earned her 1,700 career dig in the early contest. She had eight digs against Central Arkansas before turning it up a notch against LSU, tallying 23 digs.
Florida State had to come back to defeat LSU in the second match of the day after dropping the first set.
“We weren’t sure how we were going to react once we hit adversity,” FSU head coach Chris Poole said. “We certainly did tonight. LSU played great. They had a great game plan and they played hard. We had some players step up and we had some players that were off and it was good to be in that situation.”
Redshirt freshman Milica Kubura led the attack with 15 kills, setting a new season high.
“It’s important for us (to get the win) because we’re learning from every match,” Kubura said. “We’re better than our last match. When we came out and played bad in the first set it motivated us to get better and we did.”
Three Seminoles registered double-doubles for the match as Walch swatted 14 kills and produced 15 digs in addition to both setters earning the honor. Sophomore Hailey Luke tied her career high for assists with 28 while recording 11 digs, while Wickstrom had 17 assists and 12 digs. Wickstrom delivered three aces on the night and Luke had 1.
Burrington tallied 10 kills, while hitting .500 percent and added five block assists and a solo.
In the first set against the Tigers, Florida State started out of sync, falling into a 4-12 hole. The Seminoles put together some points and were looking to go on a run, but the deficit was too great as LSU took the 1-0 lead, 25-19.
Shaking off the first, the Seminoles jumped out to the 8-3 lead early. Holding the five-point cushion despite dropping long-intense rallies to the Tigers, FSU kept its distance by earning an 85 percent side out rate during the second. Florida State tied the match 1-1 after taking set two, 25-19.
The third set score was tied three times before Wickstrom’s serve gave the Tigers fits resulting in a 6-0 run to take the 15-12 advantage. However, LSU pieced together a 6-3 scamper forcing an 18-18 tie and a FSU timeout.
Florida State made an error off the break, but Walch swung for a huge kill to knot it at 19. After another stalemate at 20, the Tigers committed an error and Kubura buried a kill to go up 22-20.
Not backing down, LSU picked up two big points from long rallies to tie at 22, but Kubura was too tough from the right side, swinging for a kill before teaming up for a block to give the Noles set point at 24-22.
Sophomre outside hitter Katie Horton secured the 2-1 lead after tucking home a kill ending the third, 25-23.
Breaking through an early 4-4 tie in the fourth, the Seminoles put up an 8-3 run taking the 12-7 lead with major production from Burrington as she registered a solo block and two kills during the streak.
Florida State closed out the fourth outscoring LSU 25-16 to win the match 3-1.
“LSU was playing tough all night,” Mosher said. “There were a lot of long points tonight and we didn’t always come out on top of those, but it shows a lot of character for our team to be able to come back in and come through.”
In the first match of the day, Walch led the attack with ten kills on 11 attempts, hitting for a career high percentage of .818. She also had six digs. Wright accounted for seven kills and two block assists.
The Seminoles put up nine total team blocks, as Burrington led with four block assists.
As a team, the Seminoles produced the third-best hitting percentage under Coach Poole, tallying 36 kills while hitting for .478 percent.
In the first, Florida State went on a 9-0 run with Walch on serve, who produced two aces during the charge to go up 16-5. The Seminoles grabbed the 1-0 lead by taking the first, 25-11.
Florida State held on to win the second set 25-18 before capping of its second straight 3-0 sweep closing out the third set, 25-17.
The Seminoles will play Auburn on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Tully Gym. For more information on FSU volleyball, check Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.