WASHINGTON, D.C. – (Seminoles.com) – Less than 24 hours after its last fifth-set victory over Marquette, the eighth-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team (5-0) defeated American (3-2) on Sunday, 3-2 (19-25, 25-12, 25-22, 10-25, 15-9) on the road in Bender Arena.
“American and Marquette will both play for their conference championships,” FSU head coach Chris Poole said. “This American team knocked out Duke in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament and they returned a lot of their players. We knew it was going to be tough.”
The Seminoles have not won a stretch of three matches in five sets since the 2011 NCAA Tournament, when FSU defeated Cincinnati, Purdue and Iowa State on the road to the Final Four.
Florida State starts 5-0 for the second time during the Poole era, this time knocking off a pair of ranked teams (No. 7 Nebraska, No. 11 Florida) as well as three squads that received votes for the AVCA Coaches Poll (Iowa State, Marquette, American).
“That’s why we schedule these tough matches,” Poole said. “We had different people step up today.”
In the fifth, the Seminoles started with a 4-1 lead before American went on a 4-1 scamper to tie 5-5. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Sarah Burrington put down a great set from sophomore setter Hailey Luke to give the Noles the 6-5 lead.
After her kill and an American error, Burrington helped spark a 5-1 run with a pair of kills and a block assist to give the Seminoles the 11-6 advantage. Junior outside hitter Karlie Hauer came up big with a few clutch plays, scoring a kill while fueling a pair on serve during the run. Hauer and Burrington also registered a block down the stretch.
“No one was a bigger hero than Karlie,” Poole said. “She had to step up in the fifth set under extreme pressure and she made some great plays.”
Junior defensive specialist Laura Dadowski subbed in to serve up 12-7 and set up junior Kiara Wright for the kill (13-7).
After a FSU ball handling error and a kill from American’s Monkia Smidova, junior outside hitter Nicole Walch delivered her 18th kill of the match before redshirt junior Mercedes Vaughn tucked home the final point, giving the Noles the 3-2, 15-9 victory.
Walch led the attack with her fourth double-double of the year, posting 18 kills and 10 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Katie Horton tied her career high for kills with 17.
Burrington also had another solid day, scoring nine kills while contributing three block assists. Wright tallied five block assists while Vaughn scored a solo block and three assists as the Seminoles tallied 10.5 total blocks on the day.
Redshirt senior Katie Mosher produced 21 digs while delivering three aces.
Senior setter Sarah Wickstrom amassed 29 assists and Luke accounted for 23. Both setter contributed an ace as well.
Florida State got off to a slow start in the first, trailing for the majority of the set. After a late 3-0 charge, FSU looked to tie the set but an error fueled a 6-2 run by American who would win the first 25-19.
In the second set at a 4-4 tie, Mosher’s serve sparked a 6-0 run that included a pair of aces and kills from Horton and Vaughn in order to put the Seminoles up 10-4. Florida State kept its distance and finished the set, 25-12 to tie the match 1-1.
The third set was even as the score was tied 18 times before the Seminoles scored back-to-back kills from Walch and Vaughn late to go up 23-21. American called timeout and got a kills from Allison Cappellino, but FSU grabbed the next two points as Walch swung for a kill before Wright and Horton put up a block to end the third 25-22 in order to take the 2-1 lead.
Florida State went cold in the fourth as American forced a fifth by winning the set 25-10.
The Seminoles recharged and grabbed their third fifth-set victory of 2014, 15-9.
Florida State returns to Tallahassee to host the Four Points by Sheraton Invitational, which will feature Samford, LSU and Central Arkansas. The Seminoles will first play Samford at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12.
For more information on FSU volleyball visit, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.