AUBURN, Ala. – The Florida State volleyball team rallied to take a set off of Auburn, but the Tigers pulled out a four-set win over the Seminoles on Sunday afternoon (9/16). FSU moves to a 4-6 season record to close out its non-conference slate.
While the Seminoles pushed harder on offense in the beginning of the match, Auburn stayed consistent to hold FSU back throughout the first two sets. For the third time this season, Florida State came back to win the third set after dropping the first two, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Auburn from closing out the match with a win in the fourth.
“We started slow in the first set again,” said head coach Chris Poole. “While I appreciate their fight in not quitting, we have to learn to finish points and finish sets. We find ourselves up a lot in points, but we don’t make the plays at the crucial part of the set.”
FSU now moves on to ACC play, where it heads into what could be one of the toughest conference seasons it has seen in a while. Ten ACC teams finish non-conference play with a winning percentage, and conference-leader Pitt currently sits in the AVCA Top-10.
“Non-conference matches are over,” Poole said. “We need to learn from our mistakes and be better. We have a lot of season remaining, and our coaching staff takes the responsibility on getting better.”
The Seminoles open conference play next weekend, hosting Duke on Friday, Sept. 21 and Wake Forest on Sunday, Sept. 23.
The first set started off close as Auburn’s tough defense kept the Seminoles back from taking the lead. Consistent passing on the Tigers’ side gave FSU the ball more often, giving the Seminoles more chances to push on offense. Florida State had more kills and total attacks than the Tigers in the set, but errors on FSU’s side of the net and a more consistent defense on Auburn’s side helped the Tigers pull out the first set.
Florida State jumped out to an early lead in the set, earning the first three points from kills by Knuth and Caffrey. Auburn continued to send the ball back to the Seminoles, giving FSU more chances to attack, but a number of errors from the Seminoles’ side of the net helped Auburn catch up.
After the Tigers took the lead, the Seminoles went on a 4-0 run to tie it up at 13-all, led by Knuth in the middle as she put down a kill and teamed up with Caffrey and Ell to earn three consecutive blocks. Murray followed it with a kill and a pair of blocks to put the Seminoles back in the lead, but Auburn was able to regain the lead and win the set by two.
FSU saw nine total blocks in the set, holding Auburn to just .061 hitting with two unforced errors.
The set stayed close once again in the beginning, but a 5-0 run by the Seminoles forced an early timeout as a pair of kills from Caffrey and a block by Ell and Knuth gave FSU a 10-6 lead. The Seminoles kept up the run to go 9-0 for a 14-6 lead, and never let the Tigers catch up from there.
The Seminoles hit .486 in the set, earning 18 kills with only one forced error from a block. Ambrose led the offense with eight kills to hit .500, while Burkert and Knuth both hit .600 or better.
Auburn took the lead early in the set, taking more swings and letting Florida State make its own errors once again. FSU reduced unforced errors at the net and was able to outhit Auburn in the set. While both teams looked similar in both offense and backcourt defense, three team blocks and two aces on Auburn’s side helped keep the Tigers in the lead and helped them close out the set for a win.
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