SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Led by a pair of career-best outings from Katie Horton (21 kills) and Milica Kubura (20 kills) the 18th-ranked Florida State volleyball team earned a four-set victory (25-23, 25-9, 24-26, 25-20) at Syracuse in ACC action on Sunday afternoon. The win, which moves Florida State to 20-5 overall and 13-3 in the league, marks the ninth straight season the Seminoles have won 20 matches under head coach Chris Poole.
Horton, who posted a .333 attack percentage in her 15th double-digit kill performance of the season, completed the match with her fourth straight double-double as she contributed 13 digs. Horton and Brianne Burkert (27 assists / 16 digs), who recorded her 11th career double-double, led the way for a Florida State offense that finished with 69 kills and a .286 attack percentage.
Kubura, also highly efficient on offense (.306 attack pct.), topped her previous career-high in kills (19) in the process. Complementing the duo of Horton and Kubura was Christina Ambrose, who closed with 12 kills (.300 attack pct.), three digs and one assisted block.
Cecilie Woie topped the 20-dig mark for the fifth time this season (25) and third time in the last five matches to provide the Seminoles a 79-73 edge in digs. Meanwhile, Mara Green (four total blocks) and Melanie Keil (three total blocks) led the way for the front row. Another key to success for Florida State was Madison Sullivan, who emerged with five digs and two service aces.
Carrying over momentum from a solid third set, Syracuse opened the fourth on a 7-3 run that was capped off by a kill from MacKenzie Walker. Eight kills, including four from Ambrose, along with a service ace by Sullivan highlighted a Florida State rally that deadlocked the game 12.
Eight points and three ties later, the Seminoles grabbed the lead with Woie in serve as Syracuse committed an unforced error. Kubura penetrated the Orange defense with two kills as Florida State eventually stretched the lead to 23-19. A late Kubura kill along with an unforced Syracuse error, with Hailey Luke in serve, provided the Seminoles with the win.
Syracuse rebounded from a difficult offensive outing in the third by establishing an 11-2 advantage in the fourth. Three kills from Horton and two from Stasa Miljevic helped get Florida State’s offense back on track as it scored eight of the next 10 points to make for a 13-10 Orange lead.
Horton applied the offensive pressure, recording three kills in a six-kill stretch to help Florida State pull to within 21-17. A pair of Syracuse errors along with kills from Kubura and Horton trimmed the lead to one, 24-23. But the Orange held off the rally and capitalized on a series of unforced errors down the stretch by Florida State to complete the win.
The Seminoles put together one of their most dominating performances of the season in the second set, finishing with a .515 attack percentage that included 21 kills while limiting the Orange to nine points. It is the first time, since Florida State held No. 21 Texas A&M to eight points in the third set on Sept. 20, 2014, that the Seminoles have held an opponent to single digits in a set.
Leading 7-3 early in the second, behind three kills from Kubura and two each from Green and Ambrose, the freshman Sullivan took over in serve for the Seminoles. She combined a service ace with two kills from the trio of Horton, Green and Miljevic to score the next nine straight points Florida State, which moved in front 16-3.
“Parts of today’s match were very as we still try to be more consistent,” said Poole. “This team has so much potential and our staff is working hard to help them reach the goals the players set for the season. Every season is a separate chapter and we want to end this year with no regrets.”
Behind three kills from Horton, the Seminoles stretched their lead to 22-6 with Burkert in serve. The Orange answered with three straight points, which included a kill from Mackenzie Weaver, before strikes by Keil and Kubura provided Florida State with the decisive win.
A pair of blocks at the net by Green and Keil and a service ace by Woie allowed Florida State to establish a 6-3 edge in the first set. Syracuse responded with a 4-1 run, briefly knotting the game at seven-all, but the Seminoles countered by scoring the five of the next eight points to move in front 12-9.
Trailing by three, Syracuse scored the next seven unanswered to assume a 16-12 advantage. Florida State rallied behind strikes from Burkert, Green and Kubura to eventually pull even at 17. Five kills over the next eight points, including two off the hand of Horton, proved to be the difference as the Seminoles earned the two-piint win.
The Seminoles return to action this weekend when they head to North Carolina to take face Duke (Nov. 16) and Wake Forest (Nov. 18). The clash with the Blue Devils gives Florida State an opportunity to move into second place in the ACC.
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