September 18, 1998
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Lady Seminole volleyball team suffered its first two losses of the season against a pair of top four teams in the opening round of the UCSB Judy Bellomo Classic in Santa Barbara, California. Florida State (7-2, #19 AVCA / USA Today Coaches Poll) fell to host UC Santa Barbara (8-0, #4) 13-15, 17-19, 10-15, in Friday’s opening match. The Lady Seminoles were overpowered by #2 Long Beach State (9-0) 7-15, 5-15, 4-15 in the nightcap.
In a hard fought match with UCSB, Florida State led in each game but could not put away the Gauchos. FSU battled to a 13-11 lead in the first game behind powerful outside hitting from sophomores Kate Hemlepp and Jennifer Werrick and 8 kills from middle hitter Aisha Thornton. UC Santa Barbara, however, picked up the final four points with three kills and a service ace for the victory in game one.
The Lady Seminoles took control early in the second game, jumping out to an eight-point lead behind seven kills from Holly Schneider and tough blocking from Thornton and Susan Hawks in the middle. The Gauchos rebounded from the deficit to tie the score at 14-14 then fought off FSU for a 19-17 game two win. UCSB capitalized on numerous Florida State errors in the final game to close out the match 15-10.
“We played very hard, but we are certainly disappointed we couldn’t win the second game,” said head coach Cecile Reynaud following the UCSB match. “We held our own but just couldn’t get over the top.”
Individually for the Lady Seminoles against UCSB, Werrick, Schneider, and Thornton posted double-digit kills. With 18 digs, Schneider completed a double-double along with setter Fiona Bolten who tallied 12 digs and 48 assists. As a team, FSU totaled 61 kills to the Gauchos’ 56, while the two teams were practically even in hitting percentage (FSU .258, UCSB .262). Errors proved to be the difference including 13 service errors by Florida State.
In FSU’s evening match, the Lady Seminoles started strong, but Long Beach State squashed any upset hopes with powerful net play led by the pinpoint sets of 1997 National Player of the Year Misty May. A host of FSU miscues fueled Long Beach State as the 49ers powered past the Lady Seminoles in the final two games for a three-game sweep of Florida State.
LaToya Washington, who started in place of an injured Kate Hemlepp, led FSU with 9 kills against the 49ers. Thornton added 8 kills and a pair of blocks. Overall, the Lady Seminoles hit just .041 versus Long Beach State’s .355 hitting percentage.
Florida State looks to rebound Saturday against Pepperdine at 1:00 p.m. EDT and Santa Clara at 8:30 p.m. EDT on the final day of the UCSB/Judy Bellomo Classic in Santa Barbara.