Aug. 30, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Seminoles claimed the Florida State Invitational crown for the third straight year with a 3-0 (25-2, 26-24, 25-12) sweep over Stetson on Saturday night inside Tully Gymnasium. FSU’s Nikki Baker went on a 17-serve streak to start off the first set, a career high for the junior setter. FSU is now off to a 3-0 to start in 2008, already an improvement over last season when the team started at 2-1.
“I felt like the girls played well overall this weekend,” Florida State head coach Chris Poole said. “I think when you consider we had a lot of adversity in the preseason, we didn’t get a chance to work a lot on our offense, it’s pretty amazing to have hit that well.”
Not since a 15-1 win over Florida A&M back in 2002 has Florida State allowed fewer points in a set until the 25-2 win over Stetson to start the match. Baker was on a roll early, with 17 straight serves that resulted in 11 FSU kills. Leading the team after the first win of the night was junior Brianna Barry with six kills and one block assist.
Set two was the closest of the evening with the Hatters holding a slight lead from point eight until the Seminoles tied it up at point 21. Two kills from junior Lauren Young, one from sophomore Lauren Richardson and a Stetson error tied the score at 24. With a solid block from Young and Richardson to give the Noles the 25-24 lead, it would be a service ace from freshman Drew Dudley that earned the set point and pushed FSU ahead 2-0.
In the final set of the night, the Seminoles took the lead coming out of the gates and never let it go, holding Stetson to 12 points as they sealed the tournament title for the third consecutive season. At the end of the match, Richardson led on the attack with 11 kills and three blocks, while tournament MVP Jordana Price put down eight kills and led the team with an impressive .800 attack percentage. After three W’s this weekend, Price notched 27 kills and tops the squad with a .610 attack percentage and 10 blocks.
Also earning spots on the All-Tournament team was Barry, who recorded a stellar 31 kills and eight blocks over the two-day event, and sophomore Stephanie Neville who was instrumental to the team with 23 kills, a .553 attack percentage and seven blocks.
“I feel like defensively we got better as the weekend progressed,” Poole said. “We’ve got to be able to play matches and competitive situations in order for them to learn what they need to be able to do to be successful. I felt like they did that, they were much better in serving this match and had a lot less serving errors. It was overall a very good weekend and I think it’s something we definitely build on.”
Next up for Florida State will be Long Beach State at home on Thursday, September 4, at 7:00 p.m. The Seminoles fell to the 49ers 3-0 at the Long Beach State Invitational last season and are 0-4 all-time against the California team.
“This next week is going to be tougher,” Poole said. “It’ll be a step-up with Long Beach State on Thursday, the tournament with North Florida and South Dakota State plus Florida on Monday. We’ve got to go back to work and hopefully everybody can come in and we can just build on this and get better.”
Tournament runner-up Bowling Green placed two on the All-Tournament team, Kendra Halm and Shari Luther, with Florida A&M (1-2) outside hitter Jovana Blazeski and Stetson’s (0-3) Rebecca Orzechowicz rounding out the list.