Sept. 13, 2008
DAYTON, Ohio – The Florida State volleyball team was the epitome of the word unconquered as it fought back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Wright State 3-2 in the final match of the Raider Challenge on Saturday night. The Seminoles are on fire with an 8-2 record with their only losses coming to Top 25 teams.
“It’s matches like this that certainly build character,” Florida State head coach Chris Poole. “This was our first true road game, since the other two matches were neutral, so we got to see how we respond.
“We played well in sets one and two, most of the time, but we made a lot of mistakes that allowed them to come out and win. But we’ve got to understand that we don’t get breaks while we’re on the road.”
Florida State came out strong at the start of the first set but faltered around point 24, giving set point to Wright State on an FSU attack error. The Raiders came back to take the second set much in the same way, getting 15 kills on the floor while the Seminoles shot down 11.
The atmosphere in the locker room after set two was not of defeat but of determination. The Seminoles refused to throw in the towel and returned to the court with more focus and drive to get the `W.’
As the third set began, the Raider fans were on a mission to distract FSU and even began the Florida Gator chomp to frazzle the Noles. But not even their best effort could stop the Seminoles from pounding the Raiders in set three, 25-17. Junior Brianna Barry led the attack in the set, putting five kills on the floor and notching one block assist.
Fatigue had set in for WSU in set four as the Noles fought back to stay in the match and took down the home team, 25-15. A service error by Leilani Tafuna would give set point to FSU and roll the match into the fifth set.
FSU sealed the tournament crown as it controlled the last set 15-10 with Barry topping the Seminoles with 19 kills and an impressive .594 attacking percentage in the match. The junior middle blocker was named the MVP of the tournament after racking up 33 kills and a .485 attacking percentage in the three wins over the weekend. Also earning spots on the all-tournament team was junior Jordana Price who had 18 kills against WSU and freshman Rachael Morgan who had five this evening. After three matches, Price notched 25 kills and a .438 average while Morgan had her best showing so far this season with 21 kills and hitting a .345.
“I’m really proud of the way the team came back,” Poole said. “It would have been real easy being on the road to just roll over and die and we didn’t. We came back and we took it to a whole other level in all three of the last sets and that’s encouraging.”
After surviving their first road test this season, the Seminoles now enter conference play as they travel to Coral Gables, Fla., to face Miami on Friday, Sept. 19. Florida State will remain on the road against its ACC opponents for the next few weeks before hosting Maryland at home on October 10.