GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Katie Horton recorded a career-high 26 digs and added a team-high 17 kills while Hailey Luke contributed 28 assists and Mara Green finished with six blocks to lead 16th-ranked Florida State to a four-set victory (20-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-23) over Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in the Lemerand Athletic Center on Friday evening. Horton anchored the back row with her career-high 26 digs, three more than her previous career-high at Notre Dame (Oct. 30), as she posted the 13th double-double of the season and 25th of her career.
The Westland, Mich. native’s 26 digs tied for the fourth-most in an NCAA Tournament match in program history alongside Visnja Djurdjevic (Purdue; Dec. 1, 2012).
Horton, the lone Seminole (25-5) in double figure kills, posted a .310 hitting percentage as she enjoyed her 17th double-digit kill performance of the season. She was joined among the offensive leaders by Natasha Calkins and Stasa Miljevic, who came through with seven kills each. Luke and Brianne Burkert, who contributed 20 assists, quarterbacked the Florida State offense to 53 kills and a .218 attack percentage.
The senior trio of Green, Horton (five blocks) and Melanie Keil (four) led the way for a front row unit that finished with 20 blocks. Joining Horton among the back row leaders were Cecilie Woie (14 digs) and Burkert, who recorded 10. The 10 digs gave Burkert her eighth double-double of the season and 12th of her Seminole career.
Five points by Jordan Thompson in serve in the fourth set helped give Cincinnati a 10-3 advantage. The Seminoles battled back, converting kills by Horton, Calkins and Luke, to pull even at 13-all.
After enduring six ties over the next 16 points resulted in a 21-all deadlock, following an unforced error by the Bearcats’ Ciara Hill. An attack error by Thompson along with a pair of strikes by Horton allowed Florida State to earn its 17th all-time victory at the NCAA Tournament.
The two units evenly split the first 12 points of the third set before an assisted block by Miljevic and Green helped provide Florida State with an eventual 9-6 edge. The Bearcats bounced back, behind the service game of Lindsey Dinelacker, to pull even at 10-all.
Four ties and eight points later Florida State grabbed the lead on a kill by Calkins. The Seminoles eventually moved ahead 20-16 behind a Horton kill and an assisted block from Calkins and Green. Cincinnati scored seven of the next 10 points, drawing even at 23, but back-to-back unforced errors provided the decisive points for Florida State.
Horton drove three kills past the Cincinnati defense in the first nine points as Florida State grabbed a 9-5 lead in the second set. The Bearcats recorded the next three points, slicing the margin to one, before a 6-0 run by the Seminoles made for a 15-8 contest. The run was highlighted by two kills from Calkins and five points in serve by Luke.
A second Bearcat timeout was not enough to derail the Florida State offense, which capitalized on two kills and an assisted block from Keil as the stood at 20-12. The Seminoles capitalized on two Cincinnati unforced errors and a Green kill down the stretch to close out the 11-point victory.
Three kills from Kubura, along with an assisted block from the duo of Horton and Green, helped provide Florida State with the 10-8 advantage in the opening set. Cincinnati answered with a 6-1 run, highlighted by four kills from Thompson, to assume the three-point edge.
The Bearcats extended their first set lead to five, 20-15, on a kill from Thompson. Florida State responded with a series of strikes by Miljevic coupled with a block that included Horton and Green, allowing the Seminoles to trim the deficit to three. Two kills from Carly Nolan and Lise Alaiwan helped give Cincinnati the opening set win.
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