TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State volleyball team came out swinging in the team’s home opener, hitting .475 to sweep VCU on Friday night (9/7). The Seminoles move to 2-4 this season, and the team is looking to even up its record with two more matches tomorrow in the Home2 Suites by Hilton Tallahassee Seminole Invitational.
The team’s season-leading offensive performance was fueled by five different players who all hit above .300 – redshirt seniors Christina Ambrose and Ashley Murray, junior Payton Caffrey and sophomores Tiana Jackson and Taryn Knuth.
By staying strong on defense to gather 32 digs and four total blocks, the Seminoles held the Rams to just .096 hitting in the match, holding VCU’s kill leader, Vicky Giommarini, to -.048 hitting. Senior libero Kelsey Wicinski picked up 13 digs in the three-set match to help a strong defensive effort that kept VCU to the lowest hitting percentage the Seminoles have seen from an opponent this season.
Florida State is the third ACC team to sweep VCU this season, and it marked the second time in only six matches this season the Seminoles won in three sets.
FSU’s second match in the tournament will be held at Tully Gym on Saturday (9/8) as the Seminoles take on Southern Miss at 11:30 am. Parking will be restricted, and fans will have to print out a parking pass in order to attend the match (details below). The remainder of the tournament will be held at Florida A&M’s Al Lawson Center on Saturday.
Set 1 – FSU 25, VCU 12
The Seminoles gained an early lead on the Rams in the first set, leading by as much as 9-2 before VCU was able to see a few more points come in. While the Rams picked up a pair of blocks early on in the set, FSU controlled their side of the net to reduce errors and put down 17 kills.
Florida State saw a stronger defensive effort than VCU in the set, picking up nine digs to hold the Rams to just seven kills. While the Rams caught up to break into double digits, FSU was able to run away to take the set 25-12.
Set 2 – FSU 25, VCU 17
VCU looked stronger at the beginning of the second set, catching up to the Seminoles to tie up the score at 5-all, 6-all and 7-all. FSU was able to pull away when the Rams began making more errors and three consecutive kills gave FSU a 12-7 lead. From there, VCU kept the score close but a block from Caffrey and Murray and a .469 offensive effort held the Rams down as FSU closed out the set 25-17.
Caffrey saw more attacks hit the ground as she totaled eight kills on 10 attacks and hit .700 in the set. The Seminoles saw their first team block of the match in the second set, and a strong defensive effort from libero Kelsey Wicinski and setter Adrian Ell tallied more digs (9) than the Rams had combined (7).
Set 3 – FSU 25, VCU 16
The opponent looked even stronger in the first half of the third set, tying up the score 10 times and taking the lead three times. Ambrose took control of the offense to pick up a pair of kills to put FSU back in the lead, and the Seminoles used the momentum to run away with the set.
Ambose, Caffrey and sophomore Tiana Jackson all saw a perfect offensive effort in the set, while three total blocks from Murray, Knuth and Deja Williams kept the opponent to .000 hitting in the set.
Tournament Schedule & Results – Tournament Page
Friday, Sept. 7
6:00 pm – FSU vs. VCU (at FSU) – FSU 3-0
6:00 pm – FAMU vs. Southern Miss (at FAMU) – USM 3-0
Saturday, Sept. 8
11:30 am – FSU vs. Southern Miss (at FSU)
11:30 am – FAMU vs. VCU (at FAMU)
4:30 pm – VCU vs. Southern Miss (at FAMU)
7:00 pm – FSU vs. FAMU (at FAMU)
FSU vs. USM
Southern Miss heads into the tournament as the only team with a winning record (5-2), with its only two losses coming to Power Five programs Ohio State and Ole Miss. The Golden Eagles have seen four straight 20+ win seasons, and was picked to finish fifth in the Conference USA this season.
Senior Kylie Grandy leads the team with 121 kills (4.17 per set) this season, and has added on 10 aces and 10 total blocks through only seven matches. Defensively, Alexis Coombs leads the pack with 35 total blocks (13 solo), while Madison Lawler has held down the back row with 102 digs (3.40 per set).
In the series between the two teams, the Seminoles have not allowed the Eagles to win a single set in the 15-match series. FSU has swept USM all 15 times, with seven of those wins coming in Tallahassee.
FSU vs. FAMU
The Rattlers come into this tournament without a win yet this season, but the team has also been on the road for the last two weeks. FAMU has taken two of its opponents – Central Arkansas and UT Martin – to five sets, while it has been swept three times, most recently to Mercer.
Florida A&M is led offensively by Maria Yvett Garcia, who tallied her 100th kill of the season on Tuesday at Mercer. Defensively the Rattlers are led by Aybuke Kocabiyik (36 kills, seven solo) and Valentina Carrasco (140 digs) and Jessa Long (111 digs) in the back row.
Gokhan Yilmaz was promoted to FAMU’s head coach just prior to this season. Yilmaz previously worked under Poole as FSU’s Associate Head Coach from 2008-14. With the Seminoles, Yilmaz saw five NCAA Tournament appearances and three ACC Championships.
The two teams have seen each other 26 times in the series, with the Rattlers winning only once in 1982. FSU has won the last 23 matches in the series.
Due to football gameday parking restrictions on September 8, 140 spots will be made available in lot 17 for volleyball spectators only on a first-come-first-serve basis. A map can be found here. The lot will only be available from 10:30 to 1:30, and all cars MUST be moved by 1:30. Spectators can enter the lot on Stadium Drive between 10:30-11:45 am.
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