Joining her among offensive standouts against Little Rock were Christina Ambrose and Melanie Keil, who ended the evening with eight kills apiece.
The defensive stoppers for the Seminoles were Burkert, Cecilie Woie (10 digs) and Mara Green (three assisted blocks). Green, an All-Tournament selection, ended her weekend with 23 kills and 11 total blocks (10 assisted).
Keil, also instrumental in the FSU defense, came through with one solo and two assisted blocks against Little Rock. The senior snagged All-Tournament honors after recording 22 kills and 13 blocks (11 assisted) in the two-day event.
“We are still trying to find ourselves this year, but I feel that we made progress this weekend,” said head coach Chris Poole. “I am really proud of the way that we fought through adversity in the tournament and managed to rally from behind when we were down. We have a big rivalry match on Wednesday night, with a Top 15 team in the country, so we want to see our players and fans respond to that challenge.”
Facing the opportunity to complete its third three-set win of the season and second of the day, Florida State capitalized on three kills from Horton and three service aces by Stasa Miljevic as it established a 17-8 advantage in the third set. The Trojans would not go quietly as they responded with a 4-1 rally, pulling to within six.
With the lead trimmed to four, 19-14, Horton penetrated the Little Rock defense with four kills among the final six Seminole points to help Florida State complete the five-point win.
The Seminoles used the service game of Bozena Culo to overcome a series of early challenges in the second set by Little Rock as they grabbed a 9-5 lead with the freshman in serve. Teaming with Culo to stretch the Florida State lead was Keil, who drove a kill past the Trojan defense, as the Seminoles forged ahead 12-7.
The combination of Burkert in serve and kills by Kubura and Green allowed Florida State to stretch its lead to 22-13, forcing the second Little Rock timeout. The Trojans pieced together a 5-1 run, highlighted by kills from Miona Milovanovic and Carolee Dillard, closing the deficit to 23-18. Strikes from the front row of Keil and Natasha Calkins gave the Seminoles a 2-0 advantage with the six-point victory.Keil got the Florida State offense rolling in the opening frame, driving home two kills inside the first 10 points as the Seminoles assumed a 7-3 lead. Looking to regroup Little Rock quickly called a timeout, but two kills each from the combination of Ambrose and Green helped FSU to record 12 of the next 20 points and assume a 19-11 advantage.
A second breather by the Trojans couldn’t derail Florida State’s offense, which received kills from Burkert, Horton and Kubura down the stretch, as the Seminoles posted a 10-point victory.
(Florida A&M-Florida State Recap)
Katie Horton registered a match-high 13 kills and finished with a .632 attack percentage as 13th-ranked Florida State completed a 25-20, 25-22, 25-21 sweep of crosstown rival Florida A&M in the afternoon session of the Home2 Suites by Hilton-Tallahassee Seminole Tournament.
Horton anchored a Seminole offense that recorded 46 kills and a .389 attack percentage as Florida State improved its record to 25-1 in the all-time series. She was joined on the front row by Christina Ambrose (nine kills, .320 attack pct.), Mara Green (eight kills, .583 attack pct.) and Milica Kubura (eight kills).
Sophomore Brianne Burkert was again instrumental in Florida State’s offensive success, handing out a career-high 38 assists to go along with seven digs. Joining her with solid defensive outings were Horton (nine digs), Ambrose (seven digs) and Green (one solo block, three assisted blocks).
FSU took a commanding 14-8 lead early in the first set behind three kills each from Horton and Kubura. The Seminoles extended their lead to eight, 21-13, after a series of strikes by Ambrose and Keil that forced Florida A&M to burn its first timeout.
Bozena Culo and Melanie Keil responded with kills following the timeout, moving Florida State within two points of the win, before the Rattlers put together a brief 4-0 rally that made for a 23-18 contest. The Seminoles’ offense got back on track wrapped up the five-point win following a series of unforced errors by Florida A&M.
The Seminoles again established themselves early, assuming a 6-1 advantage in the second set behind the trio of Horton, Kubura and Green, but Florida A&M countered with an 8-3 rally that brought the score to a deadlock.
A back-and-forth battle for the lead ensued with Florida State enduring six ties and a two-point Florida A&M advantage, before pulling even at 19-all. Ambrose responded with a kill that put the Seminoles in front. After a pair of unforced errors by the Rattlers, and a Kubura kill, FSU stood within two points of the win. The Noles completed the three-point victory on a series of strikes by Horton and Ambrose.
Three kills from Horton and five unforced Florida A&M errors allowed the Seminoles to assume an 11-7 lead in the opening stages of the third set. Florida State eventually stretched the lead to seven, 16-9, after the Rattlers committed three straight unforced errors.
Despite two additional strikes by Horton, Florida A&M closed the gap to 18-16 on a kill by Alexis Gosha that capped off a 7-2 rally. Four kills in the final seven Florida State points, including two from Ambrose, completed the eighth straight Seminole sweep in the series with the Rattlers.
No. 13 Florida State will now turn its focus to in-state rival and eighth-ranked Florida, who travels to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles on Sept. 14 at 6:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast as part of the ACC Network Extra package.
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Home2 Suites by Hilton-Tallahassee Seminole All-Tournament Team
Katie Horton, Florida State
Mara Green, Florida State
Melanie Keil, Florida State
Morgan Reed, Baylor
Katie Staiger, Baylor
Carolee Dillard, Little Rock
Nicole Abreu, Florida A&M