Sept. 11, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich. –
An advantage in pure athleticism had been enough to produce a 5-0 record for the Florida State University volleyball team. Their first test against a team with the same level of talent showed that they still have some glitches to work out as the Seminoles dropped a 3-0 decision to the University of Michigan on Saturday (Sept. 11).
Florida State (5-1 overall) finished as the runner-up in the Michigan/ Pepsi Challenge as it dropped game scores of 30-25, 30-22 and 30-21. The Wolverines remain undefeated on the year at 7-0. Senior middle blockers Amanda Santos (Minas Gerais, Brazil) and Aisha Carr (Dallas, Texas) were named to the all-tournament team.
In the first two games of the tournament the Seminoles only hit .256, but had the backing of solid defense to produce a pair of victories. Through the first two matches, Florida State was averaging 60 digs and 16 blocks, but against the Wolverines the defense could not compensate as the Tribe produced season-lows with 38 digs and 12 blocks.
“When we were out of system we didn’t do a good job of bettering the ball and we need to be able to do that,” FSU net boss Todd Kress said. “Our left sides didn’t score consistency and when you have five players hitting negatively you’re not going to beat many people.”
Nearly a third of Florida State’s defensive numbers were put up by Santos and freshman libero Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) Santos produced five blocks, while Weissing contributed 11 digs. Senior Renee Hill (Spring, Texas) added seven digs while Jessica Skower (Naples, Fla.) and Andreza Santos (Minas Gerais, Brazil) each had three blocks. Carr added six kills
On the other side of the net, the Michigan defense did a good job of stopping an FSU attack that produced a three-game season-high 56 kills in a 3-0 victory over Eastern Michigan Saturday morning. Even though they only dug 36 balls, Michigan had 21 blocks. Also going against the Seminoles was their poor hitting as they recorded a season-low .027 percent. Santos was the only player to record more than three kills and still hit above .300 as she hit .429 with eight kills on 14 attempts.
During games one and three, Florida State kept it close until about the midway point of the stanza, only to see Michigan pull away. The Seminoles had a 17-15 lead in game one after a UM attacking error, but the hosts responded with a 10-2 run that was fueled by seven FSU errors to turn the tide of the match. In the third game FSU pulled to within 14-13 on a block by the Santos sisters, but UM immediately went on a 10-2 run to put the game and the match out of reach.
“In game one it was point-for-point up to 18 all and then we had four or five unforced errors,” Kress added. “I don’t know if we were every in the match after that. The difference in the match was they were in their system a lot more than we were and they were able to run their offense. We have to come back and have a good day of practice on Monday and get ready for what could be a huge week for us.”
Florida State only has two days to get ready for an even bigger challenge as it plays to hosts to fourth-ranked rival Florida at 7 p.m. on Tuesday (September 14). The game will be broadcast by the Sunshine Network. Next Sunday the Seminoles will welcome their second top-15 team to Lucy McDaniel Court in a week when 13th-ranked UC Santa Barbara comes to town for a 7 p.m. bout.