Sept. 20, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After sweeping its opponent in six of the last seven matches, the No. 19 Florida State volleyball flexed its come-from-behind muscle Sunday against Notre Dame in the conclusion of the Seminole Tri-Tournament.
Down 2-1, FSU (10-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) managed to bounce back and escape with a thrilling 3-2 win (19-25, 25-17, 18-25, 26-24, 16-15) over a Fighting Irish (6-4) team that defeated Miami in five sets one day earlier.
With the win, the Seminoles are now off to their best start since the 1997 season when that team started 12-0 and with eight-straight victories boast the longest winning streak since the 2000 campaign.
“It was a great volleyball match and the fans here saw two teams going at it hard,” FSU head coach Chris Poole said. “Notre Dame beat Wisconsin and Stanford both this year so we knew they were going to be tough. We came out a little slow to start the match but then at the end we just kept finding ways to win the next point.
“That’s the sign of a team that has matured in the last year.”
Senior Brianna Barry served as the catalyst to FSU’s never-say-die attitude against Notre Dame.
The standout middle blocker put away a combined 10 of her season-high 19 kills in the fourth and fifth sets and finished the match with an impressive .600 hitting percentage. She also contributed six blocks.
Senior Jordana Price and sophomore Rachael Morgan posted 13 and 10 kills, respectively, and junior Stephanie Neville added eight for a Seminole team that finished with a team hitting percentage of .305.
A scary moment for the Seminoles occurred early in the fifth set as junior libero Taylor Wilson was briefly knocked out of the game after a collision with teammate Fatma Yildirim on the back row. Sporting a swollen, black-and-blue eye left eye, the Clearwater, Fla. native somehow managed to return to the court in time to help the Seminoles build an 8-4 advantage and wound up finishing with career-highs in both digs (15) and assists (five).
The Fighting Irish scored three-straight points before their service error moved the score to 9-8 in favor of FSU. Tied at 12 apiece a few moments later, Duygu Duzceler’s well-placed lob into the corner of the court put the ‘Noles back on top 13-12 before a Notre Dame kill gridlocked the score at 13-13.
Tied at 14-14, Neville’s kill put the game at match-point for FSU and Notre Dame error sealed the win and sent the near-capacity crowd into a frenzy.
“If we were the team we were last year we would not have had the strength to come back like we did,” Barry said. “We definitely depend on each other and I am really proud of my teammates.”
Things got quite interesting in the fourth set as the Seminoles found themselves trailing 20-15 with Notre Dame up two sets to one.
After FSU battled back and tied the game at 22-22, kills by Mira Djuric and Barry in the final moments helped the home team earn a 26-24 win to force the decisive final set.
The Seminoles will now welcome Virginia and Virginia Tech to Tully Gym this weekend as their ACC schedule of games continues.