December 9, 2016 - by
Calkins, Kubura Lead Offense in Setback to Stanford

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s Natasha Calkins drove home a team-high 12 kills and Milica Kubura added 11, but it was Stanford’s trio of Inky Ajanaku (17 kills), Kathryn Plummer (15) and Merete Lutz (10) that proved to be the difference as the sixth-ranked Cardinal (24-7) earned a 25-27, 20-25, 9-25, 23-25 victory over the 16th-ranked Seminoles at UW Field House in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Florida State closed out the 2016 slate at 26-6 overall and 17-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference action, reaching the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in program history.

The Seminoles also graduated four seniors including Mara Green, Katie Horton, Melanie Keil and Hailey Luke.
Calkins’ offensive performance against the Cardinal was one kill shy of her career high, while Kubura topped double-digit kills for the 19th time this season. Horton added eight kills for the Florida State offense as she closes out her career with 1,207 kills. Luke was also vital for the flow, leading the Seminole lineup with 23 assists, as she capped off a four-year career with 2,580 assists.
Junior Cecilie Woie anchored the back row with 21 digs as she tallied her eighth 20-dig outing of the season. Teammate Madison Sullivan also reached double figures with 14, tying her career-high. Horton rounded out back row defenders with 14 digs as she ends her indoor career with 1,079 to her credit.
Keil converted two assisted blocks in her final game with the Seminoles to wrap up her career with 391 assisted blocks and 415 total blocks. Green also contributed a block, along with her five kills, to finish off her career with 442 kills and 253 total blocks (228 assisted blocks).
“Obviously, you’re always disappointed whenever you lose at the end. I think this team overcame a lot all year,” said head coach Chris Poole. “I mean, we constantly were having to shift our lineup and make some changes because of different things that were going on during the season that we can’t control. That’s just part of the game. That’s part of being able to step up and figure out a way to keep winning.”
Trailing by three points early in the fourth frame with Horton in serve, Stanford committed three unforced errors while Keil and Kubura converted a block to provide the Seminoles with a one-point lead. Following an Audriana Fitzmorris block, which tied the game at 10, the two teams evenly traded the next 20 points and endured 11 ties to reach a 20-all deadlock.
Calkins and Horton responded with a series of offensive strikes, stretching the Florida State lead to two as Stanford burned its final timeout. Three Cardinal kills, including a go-ahead strike by Ivana Vanjak, made for a 24-23 set point. Stanford close out the victory on an unforced error and advances to the Elite Eight to face Wisconsin.
A solid defensive effort, which included 19 digs, teamed with offensive performance that resulted in 12 kills and a .355 hitting percentage was instrumental in giving Stanford a victory in the third set and a 2-1 lead in the match. The Cardinal received three kills each from Ajanaku and Lutz to highlight the offensive outburst.
The Cardinal scored 18 of the first 24 points in the third, forcing a pair of timeouts as it establishing a double-digit lead. Kills by Calkins and Keil made for the final two Seminole points as Stanford completed the decisive 16-point win.
Behind two kills from Lutz the Cardinal opened the second set on a 7-3 run, resulting in a quick Florida State timeout. Strikes by Green and Keil looked to get the offense back on track for the Seminoles, but three kills by Kathryn Plummer kept Stanford in the lead, 18-13.
Two Kubura kills combined with strikes from Florida State’s front row combination of Calkins and Miljevic helped trim the deficit to three, 23-20. A timeout by the Cardinals followed by back-to-back kills by Ajanaku and Fitzmorris knotted the match at 1-1.
The two teams endured three ties inside the first 10 points, reaching a five-all deadlock, before a kill by Calkins and two unforced errors by the Cardinal provided Florida State with an 8-5 advantage. An ace from Luke coupled with strikes by Green, Calkins and Keil, stretched the Seminoles’ advantage to 13-9, forcing a Stanford timeout.
Transitions during the Cardinal timeout resulted in a 9-5 run, bringing the set to an 18-all tie. Horton drove home two kills and Sullivan added an ace to give Florida State a 22-19 led. Stanford rallied and fought off two set points before a kill by Kubura and an unforced error by Audriana Fitzmorris provided the two-point victory for the Seminoles.
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