October 14, 2016 - by
No. 15 Seminoles Hold Off Virginia Tech in Five-Set Battle
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Milica Kubura and Christina Ambrose recorded 12 kills apiece while Katie Horton added 10 kills and eight digs as 15th-ranked Florida State edged a tough Virginia Tech squad by scores of 25-13, 25-21, 15-25, 24-26 and 15-8 in an Atlantic Coast Conference battle on Friday evening at Tully Gymnasium.
Kubura, who limited herself to two miscues, finished with a .476 hitting percentage as she penetrated the Hokie defense on 25 occasions.
She led the Florida State (13-3, 6-1 ACC) offense to a .333 hitting percentage, which topped the .300 attack percentage for the fifth time this season.
Ambrose capped off her sixth double-digit kill outing of the season by posting a .360 attack percentage, while Horton topped double figures for the eighth time in 2016 and fourth time against an ACC opponent. The setting duo of Brianne Burkert (29 assists) and Hailey Luke (25)  helped at least six players reach eight kills, including Natasha Calkins (nine kills), Melanie Keil (nine kills) and Mara Green (eight kills), as the Noles tallied 62 total strikes.
Keil enjoyed a solid match on both sides of the net for Florida State, finishing with six blocks (five assisted) as the Noles held a 17-13 advantage in total blocks. She was joined on defense by Cecilie Woie, who finished with a match-high 12 digs.
Facing their first five-set match against an ACC opponent in Tully Gym since a battle with Louisville on Nov. 15, 2015, Florida State grabbed a 9-4 lead in the decisive set behind kills from Kubura and Luke.
Luke then added her third service ace of the match to extend the Seminoles’ lead to seven. Two unforced errors by Florida State allowed the Hokies to trim the deficit to six, 13-7, before a kill by Green completed the sixth Seminole victory in ACC action this season.
A service ace by Luke, along with strikes by Keil and Horton, kept the Seminoles within four of Virginia Tech, who established a 10-6 lead in the fourth frame. Consecutive kills by Ambrose gave the Seminoles their first advantage, 11-10, as the two units endured five ties before an eventual 17-all deadlock.
Florida State used strikes by Horton and Ambrose to move ahead 21-18, but the combination of Amanda McKinzie and Lindsey Owens rallied the Hokies, who eventually pulled even at 22. Four points and two ties later Virginia Tech knotted the match at 24-all, before they scored the final two points to send the match to the fifth set.
Virginia Tech regrouped during the halftime session and used four kills from Owens to assume a 12-6 lead in the third set that led to the first Florida State timeout. The breather didn’t detour the Hokies’ offense which stretched its lead to nine behind two additional kills from Owens.
Four kills among the next seven Florida State points, including strikes by Keil and Kubura, put the Noles within eight, 21-13. However, Virginia Tech allowed just two FSU points down the stretch as it completed the 10-point win.
The Seminoles streaked out to an early 8-4 lead in the second set, capitalizing on three kills and three Hokie errors. Among the three kills was one from Horton, which marked the 1,000th kill in her collegiate career. Virginia Tech overcame the four-point deficit and eventually pulled even, 10-10, on a kill by Jaila Tolbert.
With the Hokies leading by three, 14-11, Florida State used strikes by Calkins and Ambrose to spark a 4-1 run and make for a 15-15 contest. The Noles regained the lead behind two kills each from Horton and Calkins, moving in front 21-19. Three Virginia Tech errors down the stretch along with kills from Green and Kubura completed the four-point FSU triumph.
Florida State worked quickly through the opening set, using a .394 attack percentage and 17 kills to complete a 12-point victory. The Seminoles got off to a solid start, using two kills each by Green and Ambrose to assume the 6-1 lead as Virginia Tech quickly burned its first timeout.
The Hokies worked their way back into the set, trimming the deficit to four, but it was two kills from Green and a service ace by Keil that allowed Florida State to forge in front 15-7. Keil, Kubura and Ambrose, made their presence felt on the front row as they combined for three kills to give the Seminoles a 22-9 lead, their largest of the contest. Keil then joined forces with Horton and Calkins to account for the final three points of the set and the FSU win.
Pittsburgh travels to Tallahassee for a 1 p.m. match with the Seminoles on Sunday after a meeting with Miami to open the weekend. Florida State fans can watch Sunday’s clash with Pittsburgh as part of the ACC Network Extra package with commentary from Cecilie Reynaud and Jonathan Schillace.
On Sunday, Seminole fans will receive a special commemorative Mara Green poster that she will autograph following the match. Florida State fans who are 13-and-under are also encouraged to participate in the Coaches Clinic, conducted by players and members of the coaching staff, which will take place following the completion of the match with Pittsburgh.
For more information visit Facebook (Florida State Seminoles Volleyball), Twitter (FSU_Volleyball) and Instagram (FSUvolleyball).
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