TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a close battle that saw two sets go to a tiebreaker, No. 25 Florida State (5-2) recorded a 28-26, 25-18, 26-24 sweep of St. John’s (6-5) on Saturday to win the 2019 Home2 Suites Tallahassee Invitational. The Red Storm finished second in the tournament with a 2-1 record, while Stony Brook (1-2) and Florida A&M (0-2) were third and fourth, respectively.
Senior Payton Caffrey, junior Taryn Knuth and redshirt freshman Morgan Chacon were each named to the All-Tournament Team for their performances on the weekend. Caffrey tallied 19 kills, 10 digs and two blocks, as she only played in Saturday’s finale. Knuth led all players with 15 blocks, including two solo, along with 14 kills, while Chacon topped the team with both 20 kills and 25 digs, adding two blocks of her own.
“Proud of the weekend that we had from this team,” said FSU head coach Chris Poole. “We are still in the learning process as we continue to play a lot of people in different positions and rotations, which will provide us with a lot of depth as we continue through the season. Now we turn our attention to a pair of SEC teams this coming week, beginning on the road at No. 11 Florida on Tuesday night.”
The opening frame was a long battle in more ways than one, as multiple video challenges forced the set to last 52 minutes before the Seminoles were able to earn the 28-26 win. FSU held narrow leads in the early going, as Caffrey recorded three kills to give the Noles a 7-5 advantage. St. John’s came back to take the lead at 16-15, and eventually earned set point at 24-22. Junior Deja Williams helped force the tiebreaker both offensively and defensively, as a kill and an assisted block from the Suwannee, Ga., native tied things up at 24-24. A Red Storm kill gave them their third set point at 25-24, but Caffrey’s eighth kill of the set tied it up again. Another Caffrey kill and an attacking error by St. John’s closed out the set, 28-26.
The second set was controlled by the Seminoles as kills from Emma Clothier and Caffrey, along with a pair of attack errors by the Red Storm, gave FSU a 4-0 lead. The advantage grew to 14-5 on an ace by Chacon and a Knuth kill, and FSU maintained nearly a 10-point lead for most of the set, eventually earning set point at 24-13. St. John’s battled for five consecutive points, but another kill by Caffrey ended the set for FSU, 25-18.
Florida State worked out to a 9-7 advantage in the start of the third set, using kills from Jasmyn Martin and Clothier. St. John’s managed to tie the set at 13-13 and 18-18, before taking a 20-19 lead after back-to-back kills by Efrosini Alexakou. The Seminoles used a 5-2 run to set up match point at 24-22, but a Red Storm kill and an FSU attack error tied it up at 24-24. Caffrey’s 19th kill of the match gave the Noles match point and a solo block by Clothier secured the sweep.
The originally scheduled match with Florida A&M at 6pm on Saturday has been rescheduled for next season. The Seminoles will be back in action on Tuesday, September 17 as FSU heads down to Gainesville to take on No. 11 Florida in the annual Fresh From Florida Sunshine Showdown. The Noles and Gators will face off at 6:00 p.m. in a match that will be broadcast nationally on the SEC Network. Tickets are available for $6 in reserved sections, $4 for adult general admission seats, while children 12 and under are free. Links for the audio, video, tickets and live stats will be available on the volleyball schedule page on Seminoles.com.
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