Susan Hawkes (file photo)
Dec. 5, 1997
GAINESVILLE, FL— Senior outside hitter Paula Araujo blasted a match-high 25 kills and recorded 25 digs to lead South Florida to a five-game victory over Florida State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The 15-8, 4-15, 13-15, 15-7, 9-15 defeat brought a quick end to the Lady Seminoles’, who finish the season at 25-9, first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1993.
Florida State came out strong in the match with a 15-8 first set victory behind the power of middle hitters Susan Hawkes and Aisha Thortnton. However, the Seminoles lost the next two games and found themselves up against the wall down 2-1.
FSU rallied in the fourth game thanks to the efforts of Hawke and Thornton in the middle. A pair of kills by Jennifer Werrick helped the ‘Noles hang on for a 15-8 win to send the match to a fifth and deciding game.
Control seesawed in the fifth game with the score tied six times before South Florida opened up a 10-7 lead. The Seminoles never got it back together and South Florida soon closed out the match with a 15-9 victory.
“I thought we lost to a very good team,” said head coach Cecile Reynaud. “They had four seniors who really contributed. They had great ball control and fantastic digs.”
“I’m very proud of everyone,” said junior setter Fiona Bolten. “One of our goals was to get to the NCAA Tournament. Next year, hopefully, we’ll go farther.”
Individually for the Seminoles, Thornton led the team with 17 kills. Werrick (13 kills, career-high 22 digs), Bolten (52 assists, 17 digs), and Holly Schneider (10 kills, 15 digs) recorded double-doubles for FSU.