Sept. 26, 2000
TALLAHAHSSEE, Fla. – The Florida State women’s volleyball team put a 9-1 home record on the line Tuesday night against the No. 12 Florida Gators. Florida State battled the Gators in front of 1,036 fans in Tully Gymnasium, but came up on the short end of a four-game loss, 8-15, 8-15, 16-14, 5-15.
“In the third game I though we had a good performance and fought hard,” FSU head coach Cecile Reynaud said. “We come out on top in a lot of close games this season and I think that says a lot about our teams.”
With the ball in their court to start the game, Elizabeth Pound brought Tully Gymnasium to its feet, with an opening service ace to start the Lady Noles off with a 1-0 lead. The Gators managed to handle the next serve, and a block earned them the ball. The 12th-ranked Gators went on to make the most of their side out, taking the next five straight points, three of which came on blocks. Reynaud called a quick time out to get the Tribe focused, but Florida continued to put the heat on FSU. UF notched the next four unanswered points, bringing Florida State to another time out. The Gators’ 10th point came on a service ace, with Alex Sevillano picking up the reception error. This brought a change, as Reynaud sent Luana Ruiz Azevedo to the floor. With the game at 12-2, the Lady Noles started to come on strong. Four straight points with Jamie Hibbard serving landed the Noles back in the game at 12-6. Both teams battled for side outs, as the Tribe went through three more servers before either team notched a point. With Cerina Pele at the line, a viscous rally took place that ended with a heads-up tip by Hibbard to bring the game to 12-7. Florida knocked one into the fence to bring the game to 13-7, and put Azevedo at the line. The Noles ended up just short on their impressive comeback, as Florida finally took game one, 15-8.
The Noles had a rough start, with only six kills in the first game, ending with a -.037 percentage. Werrick led FSU in game one, notching half of the Seminoles’ kills.
FSU flipped sides, and started things out slowly in game two. The Noles dropped the first five points, to go down 5-0 in the pivotal second game. Just as UF started to pull away, the Lady Seminoles started heating up. After FSU put two points on the board, Campbell knocked two down to bring the game to 5-4. Florida kept the pressure on, pushing their lead to three at 7-4. It appeared the Garnet and Gold was literally inches away from the next three points, each time Florida coming up with a dig or block to notch a six-point lead. Both squads went on battling for possession with a number of side outs, with the score locked at 12-7. Both squads forced another point, bringing the score to 13-8 before the Gators jumped out to a six point lead and then notched an ace to end the game.
Down 2-0, the Noles came out of the gate quickly, with help from the strong right arm of Pound. The junior from Neptune Beach, Fla., started things off with an ace, helping FSU out to a quick 3-0 lead. After UF got one back, Campbell smoked one over the net to get a side out. Both squads continued to battle for command of the game as the score moved to 4-3 before Kristin Frye nailed one for another FSU side out. With Pound serving, UF approached the net looking to knock down another kill, but was met by Frye and Campbell who came up with a big block, and the Seminoles’ fifth point. Frye and Werrick came up with back-to-back kills to set FSU up with its seventh point and a three-point lead. The Gators struggled back, as the squad played from behind for the first time in the match. UF earned a tie at 7-7, before a persistent Florida State team added another two points. Florida pushed the game back to a tie at 9-9, before taking the lead at 10-9 heading into an FSU time out. The Noles clawed to a four-point lead at game point, but Florida battled back again in what became one of the best battles of the state of Florida Tully Gymnasium has ever witnessed. A gut-wrenching battle ensued, as Sevillano and Pele came up with kills to push the game to 15-14, before Pound sent UF back to their bench with a game-winning kill.
Florida State has failed to take a single game from Florida in their past three meetings, with this task already behind them, the Lady Seminoles focused on taking the match with the chant of “FSU, FSU” encouraging them to victory. Riding on the emotion of game three, the Noles and Gators started out at a 1-1 tie, with Campbell doing a lot of the work at the net. With Florida serving, Sevillano took three cracks at the Florida wall, two heading right into their blockers and one going over the top to get FSU the side out. As Florida started to grab a lead, Sevillano came back with two more kills to bring the score to 4-2, UF. The heated match-up continued, as Florida pushed their way out to a 12-5 lead before a Florida State time out. The Gators continued to put points on the board, and eventually pulled away to a 15-5 win.
“The crowd was great tonight,” Reynaud said. “It clearly motivates our players, especially when we are coming off road games when they aren’t seeing large crowds. It really helps them understand that all of their hard work is paying off. If they play well, they will win these fans over.”
The Florida State Lady Seminoles will be back in action when the return to conference play with a home match against NC State on Friday night.