FORT WORTH, Texas — Going the distance of five sets for the first time this season, No. 22 Florida State (2-1) picked up its second win of 2019, topping Florida Atlantic (2-2) by a score of 23-25, 25-11, 25-22, 27-29, 15-5 on Friday afternoon as part of the Fight In The Fort on the campus of TCU.
The Seminoles posted a season-high 14 blocks in the victory, led by junior Taryn Knuth with eight. Senior Payton Caffrey (22 kills, 14 digs) and redshirt freshman Morgan Chacon (15 kills, 17 digs) each recorded double-doubles, while junior Jasmyn Martin posted a .400 hitting percentage with 11 kills and just one error. In her first match of the season, sophomore Marissa Stockman recorded five kills and zero errors, along with six blocks.
“Excited that we won, but disappointed with the way we played through several parts of the match,” said FSU head coach Chris Poole. “We made a lot of little errors today that I was hoping would have been cleaned up a bit.
“I was really proud of all three of our pin-hitters – Payton, Morgan and Jasmyn – they each had really good matches. It was good to see Marissa come in and have a good match as well.”
The Seminoles started strong in the first set, breaking out to a 6-3 lead on a kill by Stockman. FAU tied the match at 8-8 and the match stayed within two points until the Owls went on a 6-1 scoring run to push out to a 21-17 lead. The Seminoles cut the lead to one at 22-21 and held off one set point at 24-23, but the Owls closed out the first set, 25-23.
Florida Atlantic controlled the early going in set two, scoring the first three points, but a pair of blocks by Knuth and a service ace by Adrian Ell put the Noles in front 7-6. After the set was tied at 9-9, it was all Florida State down the strech as the Seminoles put together a 16-2 run, including six kills by Caffrey, to cruise to a 25-11 win.
Blocks were frequent at the beginning of set three, as the teams combined for six blocks as the Noles held a 9-8 lead. It remained close until a kill by Caffrey gave FSU a 20-17 lead. Florida State gained set point after a service error by FAU and closed out with a 25-22 set win on a block by Knuth and Stockman, which was the sixth of the set and ninth of the match by the Noles.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the fourth set as neither team held more than a two-point lead until FSU made it 13-10 on a kill by Chacon. FSU grew the lead to five at 22-17 on a solo block by Emma Clothier, but FAU got back into the set with a 7-1 run to take a 24-23 lead. The Seminoles held off three set points before gaining a set point of their own at 27-26 on a kill by Caffrey. The Owls closed out the set, forcing a decisive fifth frame by scoring the final three points for a 29-27 win.
In the fifth, the Seminoles jumped out to an 8-3 lead with kills by Chacon, Caffrey and Martin, as well as a service ace from Taylor Roberts. Florida Atlantic recorded back-to-back kills to get within three, but Florida State scored the final seven points, including three consecutive blocks involving Knuth, along with an ace by Ell to secure the 15-5 victory.
“When playing a team like Florida Atlantic, this is one of the biggest matches on their schedule,” added Poole. “They are going to be all out to beat you, and I think they came out more focused than we did. That is going to be something we need to work on, being prepared and playing at our highest level.”
Redshirt freshman Lily Tessier led the team with 33 assists, while Ell added 20 of her own. Senior Madison Sullivan finished with 12 digs, four assists and a service ace as the libero.
The Seminoles continue the Fight In The Fort on Saturday, with a match against Colorado State (3-1) at 1:00 p.m. ET. Tickets to the match are $10 for adults and $5 for youth, ages 3-17. Links for live stats and tickets are available on the volleyball schedule page of Seminoles.com.
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