December 4, 1998
LOUISVILLE, Kty. – The Florida State Lady Seminole volleyball team
was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second
consecutive year as the Lady Seminoles fell to Northern Illinois in four
games, 15-10, 11-15, 10-15, 12-15, this evening at the Louisville Gardens.
Florida State ends its season at 25-11 while Northern Illinois improves to
27-6 and advances to Saturday’s second round.
Florida State started off the match sluggish as NIU grabbed a 3-0
lead in game one off the serving of setter Alison Frasor. Four kills from
senior middle hitter Susan Hawks helped FSU recover and take a three-point
lead of its own. After the Huskies rallied to tie the game at nine, FSU
scored five points off the serve of sophomore outside hitter Jennifer
Werrick, including a service ace, to take a 14-10 advantage. Junior middle
hitter Aisha Thornton finished off the Huskies with a cross-court kill off
the slide, one of her six, first-game kills, as FSU took the game 15-10.
Northern Illinois again took the early lead in game two and pushed
its advantage to as many as five at 10-5 with impressive hitting from
senior Amber Howard who posted eight kills in the game. A Sarah Rickertsen
service ace helped the Tribe close the gap to just one, but the Huskies
ended any hopes of a Lady Seminole rally, scoring the game’s last three
points for a 15-12 win to even the match at a game apiece.
The Lady Seminoles opened game three with a 6-2 lead, capitalizing
on numerous Huskie errors and getting a pair of strong kills down the
middle by Thornton. With FSU leading 7-5, the Lady Seminoles faltered.
Despite two FSU time-outs, Northern Illinois rolled off eight straight
points off the serve of Sara Urbanek and FSU trailed 7-13. Down 7-14, FSU
fought off three NIU game-points and closed to within four, but a block
from Huskie junior Christy Mikesell put the game away for Northern
Three kills from senior outside hitter Holly Schneider and a strong
block from Thornton helped boost the Lady Seminoles to a 7-2 lead in game
four. But FSU lost the momentum once again as the Huskies scored 11 of the
next 13 points to take a 13-9 edge. After an NIU error gave FSU its 10th
point, a Mikesell kill put Northern Illinois within one point of the match.
Florida State fought off a pair of match points and picked up two points of
its own, but it was too little too late as Northern Illinois finished off
the Lady Seminoles with a kill off the Tribe block to win the match 15-12
and eliminate FSU from the Tournament.
“Northern Illinois did an outstanding job of putting together a
game plan to beat us tonight,” said FSU head coach Dr. Cecile Reynaud after
the match. “Their outside hitters hit the ball very hard.
“We just didn’t show up very sharp tonight. It is extremely
disappointing. This year we felt that we had a good draw. With our five
seniors, this team could have gone further.”
“We could never pick up the momentum and get out of the deficit
that we put ourselves in,” said Holly Schneider.
Schneider closed out her career with a double-double, posting 16
kills and 11 digs in the two and a half hour match. Werrick also tallied a
double-double with 13 kills and 12 digs. Senior LaToya Washington ended
the night with 12 kills and 7 blocks. Hawks totaled nine kills and a
team-leading eight blocks in the losing effort. Setter Fiona Bolten
notched 58 assists and Rickertsen dug six Huskie attacks and added a block
and a service ace.
As a team, FSU hit just .182. Northern Illinois totaled 60 digs to
only 48 for the Lady Seminoles. FSU outblocked the Huskies 16-11. The
Tribe close out the season with team records in total kills and assists in
one season and their first Atlantic Coast Conference championship.