DURHAM, N.C. — Led by 20 kills from senior Payton Caffrey, No. 23 Florida State (7-3, 1-0 ACC) kicked off conference play on the right foot with a four-set victory on the road at Duke (7-7, 0-1 ACC), defeating the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Friday night by the score of 27-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-15.
Caffrey led the team with a .356 hitting percentage and recorded nine consecutive kills without an error from the second to the fourth set. The Chuluota, Fla., native also finished with 12 digs, two aces, two blocks, and a season-high three assists. It marked the 21st time in her career that Caffrey has reached the 20-kill mark, including seven in her 39 matches as a member of the Seminoles.
“We started a bit slow tonight, and Duke kept the pressure on us through the first three sets,” said FSU head coach Chris Poole. “I was proud of the players for stepping up in the fourth set and shutting them down. We had a lot of different players that stepped up for us tonight, and that will be important for us on Sunday at Wake Forest.”
The first set was a tight battle throughout, as neither team held more than a three-point lead at any point. The Seminoles led early and took a 9-6 lead on a Blue Devil attack error before Duke took its first lead at 12-11. Duke maintained a slim lead throughout the middle of the set, even as the Seminoles tied the match on six occasions. FSU was unable to take the lead until a 4-1 run, capped by a kill from Jasmyn Martin, gave Florida State set point at 24-22. Duke scored the next three points to take their own set point at 25-24, but a kill by Taryn Knuth tied the set, and a pair of attack errors by Duke gave the first set to the Noles, 27-25.
A kill by Caffrey started the second set for the Seminoles, but a four-point run by Duke gave the Blue Devils an 8-6 lead. FSU regrouped and scored six of the next seven points, including a kill by Morgan Chacon to get back in front, 12-9. The Seminoles grew the lead to four at 23-19 on a hustle play by Taylor Roberts, which resulted in the first kill of her career. A misplayed dig was kept up by Lily Tessier, and a diving fist on the ball by Roberts, with her back to the net and nearly 15 feet behind the service line, sent the ball back over to the Blue Devils. The Duke players, who had given up on the point, simply watched as the ball landed at their feet for a kill. The Noles carried that momentum to a 25-21 second set victory.
Duke started the third set with three straight points, but a kill by Jessica Nunge and an ace by Caffrey tied up the set. Duke controlled much of the middle of the set, until Caffrey’s 15th kill of the match tied the set at 15-15. The Blue Devils retook a 20-17 lead, and even though the Noles got within one at 21-20 and held off a pair of set points, an FSU service error forced a fourth set as Duke earned the 25-23 win.
Duke took an early lead in the fourth set, but a three-point run by the Seminoles put FSU up 6-5. Kills by Chacon and Caffrey grew the lead to 14-11, and the Noles snowballed the rest of the set, including a 7-2 run, to close out the set and the match, 25-15.
Chacon finished with her third double-double of the season on 12 kills and 14 digs, while senior captain Madison Sullivan led the team with a career-high 16 digs. Tessier finished with 28 assists as the primary setter, while Adrian Ell added 10 assists and a service ace. Sophomore Marissa Stockman continued her perfect start to the season with two kills, increasing her hitting percentage to .520 with 13 kills on 25 attacks and zero errors so far in 2019.
The Seminoles will wrap up the weekend with a match on the road at Wake Forest on Sunday, September 29 at 1:00 p.m. There will not be a video broadcast, but a link for live stats will be available on the volleyball schedule page on Seminoles.com.
Follow Florida State volleyball on Twitter (@FSU_Volleyball) and Instagram (fsuvolleyball), and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUVolleyball) to keep up to date with everything about Seminole Volleyball.