TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State indoor volleyball team ended the 2016 spring season with a 5-0-1 overall mark after posting a pair of 3-2 triumphs last week against SEC foes Auburn and Florida. The Seminoles opened their final week of the spring season with a victory over Auburn (19-25, 25-12, 20-25, 25-22, 15-11) when the two teams met in Ozark, Alabama.
They successful concluded the season last Saturday by defeating in-state rival Florida (25-14, 15-25, 25-14, 25-27, 15-12) at Tully Gym.
“The team chemistry has been tremendous this spring,” said head coach Chris Poole. “The girls have been very focused and it was obvious that they came out every day wanting to get better. Florida and Auburn were two great teams and our players went toe-to-toe and worked hard on every point.”
The Seminoles were without the services of senior setter Hailey Luke, who missed all but two matches in the spring either due to injury or her participation with the FSU beach volleyball team, where she is currently 12-4 in dual matches. In Luke’s absence rising sophomore Brianne Burkert, who ran a 5-1 offense in four of the six matches, led the unit to a .300 attack percentage.
“Jeff Hulsmeyer, our setting coach, put a lot of emphasis into making some changes with both Hailey and Brianne,” said Poole. “It has really made a difference in our speed and overall consistency on offense.”
Rising senior Katie Horton, limited in the fall with a shoulder injury, returned to her previous form and was the full rotation leader on the court. She posted a .290 hitting percentage, finished second on the team in digs (64) and led the Seminoles in serve receive efficiency (2.37).
Another instrumental part of Florida State’s success was the play of Christina Ambrose and Milica Kubura. Ambrose posted a team-best 61 kills (2.77 kills per game), along with a .260 attack percentage, while Kubura ended the slate with 51 kills (2.32 kpg), .210 attack percentage and eight blocks.
“The most important thing is that our hitters are coming out of the spring with better hitting percentages,” added Poole. “I was impressed with Katie’s (Horton) hitting percentage (.290), which is outstanding for a left side hitter. Christina (Ambrose) also made big strides this spring and we are expecting her to continue improving over the summer and step into Nicole Walch’s position as a go-to outside hitter. Milica (Kubura) also made improvements over the spring with her speed and jumping ability, which helped her play at a higher level. More important she showed great leadership, on and off the court, and we are expecting her to be a force this fall.”
FSU’s defense was highlighted by the play of Melanie Keil, who has embraced the middle position after transferring from Nebraska last summer. She ended her spring season with 34 kills (1.55 kpg), 19 blocks and a .290 attack percentage. Teammate Mara Green also saw improvement in her game as she completed a full spring session with 30 kills (1.36 kpg), 26 blocks and a .320 attack percentage. Joining them among defensive standouts was Cecilie Woie who posted a team-high 85 digs (3.86 digs per game) along with five aces.
“Our blocking has continued to get better and overall defense is much improved,” said Poole. “Melanie (Keil) has gained a lot of confidence this spring and we can see her making good adjustments and changes that have helped elevate her overall performance. It was nice to see Mara (Green) return to the court full time without any major setbacks after recovering from injuries the last two years. She is very determined and it is amazing the improvements in her game. Cecilie (Woie) made major developments with her overall defense and leadership which is going to be vital for us in 2016.
“We still have things we would like to improve on before the fall semester, but the players are very committed and I feel like they will have a great summer in preparation,” added Poole. “Right now our depth is very thin, due to unforeseen circumstances, so it will be important for the incoming players to be ready to compete for time on the court.”
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2016 Spring Statistical Recap
Player 2016 Spring Notes
Christina Ambrose 61 kills (2.77 kpg), .260 attack pct., 51 digs, 7 blocks
Brianne Burkert 44 digs, Guided team to .300 hitting percentage
Mara Green 30 kills (1.36 kpg), .320 attack pct., 26 blocks
Katie Horton 43 kills (1.95 kpg), .290 attack pct., 64 digs, 13 blocks, 7 service aces
Milica Kubura 51 kills (2.32 kpg), .210 attack pct., 8 blocks
Melanie Keil 34 kills (1.55 kpg), .290 attack pct., 19 blocks
Cecilie Woie 85 digs (3.86 dpg), 5 aces