Sept. 8, 2006
COLMUBIA, S.C. –
GAME SCORES: St. John’s 3, Florida State 1 (30-25, 26-30, 23-30, 26-30)
After its game one victory over St. John’s, it appeared the young Florida State University volleyball team was applying the lessons it learned in the loss to No. 10 USC earlier in the day. However, the Seminoles showed they still have some growing pains to go through as the Redstorm fought back to win the next three games and take the match 3-1 (30-25, 26-30, 23-30, 26-30) on Friday (Sept. 8) during the first day of the Gamecock Invitational at South Carolina’s Volleyball Competition Facility.
The Seminoles dropped their second in a row as their ledger fell to 5-2. The Redstorm remained undefeated at 9-0.
Tying for the match high was junior outside hitter Makini Thompson (Quincy, Mass.) and rookie middle blocker Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.) as each totaled 15 kills. Senior middle Sarah Griffin (Hereford, Texas) was next on the team with 12. The trio would be the lone offensive highlight for the Seminoles, who hit a season-low .192. The biggest difference came on defense where the Redstorm out-dug the FSU 71-48.
Libero Summer Weissing (Boca Raton, Fla.) had a team-high 13 digs and combined with the 12 she amassed versus USC, she moved into ninth place in school history with 997 digs, passing Joan Morris (1983-86). Setter Zrinka Tomic (Nustar, Croatia) set a career-high with 39 assists.
The Seminoles got off to a quick lead in game one as freshman Malorie Wessel (West Chester, Ohio) followed a kill with a service ace to give FSU its first six-point lead (9-3). The lead would fluctuate between three and four points until Alex Plummer (Woodbury, Minn.) sandwiched an ace in between Thompson kills to build an 18-12 FSU lead. Down the stretch six different players would record a kill as St. John’s would not threaten the rest of the set. The Seminole lead expanded to as many as seven before the 30-24 victory.
Thompson exceeded her kill total from the entire USC match, tallying seven winners with a .438 hitting percentage. Florida State hit .326 as a team. Wessel notched four kills and Tomic added 16 assists.
In a complete reverse of game one, the second stanza started with St. John’s jumping out to a 7-1 lead. The Seminoles would battle back to cut the margin to two (16-14) on a combined block by Wessel and Brianna Barry (Winter Springs, Fla.). FSU overcame several errors to get back within two at 28-26, but the Redstorm closed out the game 30-26.
Thompson had four kills on six swings to up her hitting percentage to .500 for the match. Griffin and Barry were next with three kills each.
The momentum shifted back and fourth at the start of game three as a pair of Barry kills would help FSU to a 5-3 lead, but SJU would answer with five in a row for an 8-5 advantage. The Seminoles would chip away until a kill by Griffin gave the Seminoles the lead back at 10-9. The two teams would battle the rest of the way with eight ties and seven lead changes until St. John’s pulled ahead 21-19. FSU got it back to a two-point deficit (25-23) but the Redstorm block was too much as they went on to prevail 30-29.
Florida State was its own worst enemy in game three, hitting just .116 as a team. Barry topped the team with four kills. The Seminole had four total team blocks in the game.
FSU put itself in a hole early as it was behind 8-3, but the Seminoles inched their way back as an ace by Griffin tied the stanza at 9-9 then a SJU attack error gave them the lead at 10-9. A Wessel ace gave FSU a 15-11 lead that grew to six points (20-14) on back-to-back combined blocks by Jessica Skower (Naples, Fla.) and Griffin. Unfortunately, St. John’s used a 16-7 run to win the game 30-27 and take the match.
The last day of competition at the Gamecock Invitational will see the Seminoles take on the host South Carolina at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.