Sept. 21, 2012
BLACKSBURG, Va. (seminoles.com) – The 15th ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team received a tough test on the road at Virginia Tech but prevailed over its conference counterpart, 3-2 (19-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-15, 15-11), on Friday evening at Cassell Coliseum.
Faced with a bit of adversity trailing 2-1 overall, the Seminoles (9-2, 1-1) showed their mettle and responded accordingly to earn their first Atlantic Coast Conference victory of the season. In set four, Florida State rushed out to a 7-0 lead to help win the frame convincingly, then battled with the sturdy Hokies (8-4, 1-1) in the final set before coming out on top.
“You always feel better once the games are over and you’ve been put in these situations,” head coach Chris Poole said. “These kinds of situations are good for our team in helping them overcome adversity and learn how to win on the road. It was a great atmosphere tonight, a real loud crowd and it was a real challenge. We played better in games four and five and started to turn it around, and kept going with our hot hitters to help get through tonight.”
Junior middle blocker Ashley Neff, known for her tremendous defensive presence, produced a career-high 16 kills to bolster the Seminoles. The Kennesaw, Ga., native also recorded career highs with 30 attacks and a .433 hitting percentage, being a focal point in the match. Neff added six blocks.
Senior middle blocker and right-side Marija Milosavljevic also set career highs with 14 kills and seven digs. The Bajina Basta, Serbia, native had three important kills in the fifth set, with one making it 12-10 Florida State and her final one giving the Seminoles a 13-11 advantage.
Junior outside hitter Olivera Medic also had an outstanding match, picking up her team-leading third double-double of the season with 12 kills and 18 digs in the match. She recorded a .310 hitting percentage on the night.
Senior setter Duygu Duzceler recorded a season-high 33 assists against Virginia Tech, while sophomore Sarah Wickstrom added 20. Libero Katie Mosher led Florida State with 24 digs, while senior Sareea Freeman had eight kills and eight blocks.
Florida State appeared ready to take hold of the fifth and final set early, leading 5-1 on a kill by Neff. However, Virginia Tech fought back with five straight points to take a 6-5 lead, capped by a block from Jennifer Wiker. Medic would then record an important kill a few rallies later to give the Seminoles an 8-7 lead, and a big block by Freeman and Mara Green extended the lead to 9-7.
Green would later record a kill to put Florida State ahead at 11-9. Leading 13-11, Florida State won the match following consecutive attack errors from the Hokies. The Seminoles improve to 26-3 all-time against Virginia Tech and 9-3 in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech showed its effectiveness in the opening set, winning 25-19. The Hokies and Seminoles were knotted at 9-9 early until Virginia Tech put together five consecutive points, which included kills by Samantha Gostling and Wiker and a service ace by Jordan Fish. Florida State responded by winning four consecutive rallies, but Virginia Tech’s block proved to be too much in the first frame. Trailing 22-19, Florida State fell victim to three consecutive blocks by the Hokies to fall in the first set.
The Hokies would not go away in the second set, trailing just 15-14 following two straight attack errors by the Seminoles midway through. Following a timeout by Florida State, the Seminoles rattled off five straight points which included two blocks involving Freeman. Ahead 22-19, the Seminoles finished the set with kills by Medic and Neff to head into intermission with a 1-1 overall tie in the match.
Florida State fell behind in the third set and could not catch up to the Hokies, who maintained a 10-6 advantage but could not totally hold off the Seminoles as Milosavljevic’s kill put them behind at 18-17. Both teams began to trade rallies with Virginia Tech leading 22-21 until the Hokies’ Jordan Fish recorded a kill and Victoria Hamsher followed with another successful attack for critical back-to-back points. Although a kill by Florida State’s Fatma Yildirim cut the deficit to 24-22, an attack error by the Seminoles gave Virginia Tech the third set and the 2-1 overall lead.
Friday’s match was the fourth time both schools have dueled to a five-set match, which included both times playing each other in 2010. Florida State is now 2-2 against Virginia Tech in five-setters.
The Seminoles face Virginia in the back-end of the road trip on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gym in Charlottesville, Va.