PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Florida State volleyball team (7-7, 3-1 ACC) was faced with tough competition on Sunday afternoon, falling in four sets to No. 8 Pitt (15-0, 4-0 ACC) on the road. The Seminoles saw 15 blocks in the match to tie the team’s season record, but it wasn’t enough to hold the conference’s top team.
While the Seminoles were able to hold the Panthers to under .300 hitting, errors on FSU’s side and a number of forced errors from Pitt helped the Panthers stay ahead to close out the final three sets in the match.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first set, but our offense really broke down during the match,” said head coach Chris Poole. “We now see what the top team in the conference looks like, and we need to get to work in our training. We can improve, we just need to get better at all the little things.”
Both teams came into Sunday’s match undefeated, with each sweeping all of its first three conference opponents. Florida State handed Pitt its first set loss of the conference season in the first set, while Pitt did the same to the Seminoles in the second set.
Sophomore middle blocker Taryn Knuth was the only Seminole to earn double-digit kills, putting down 12 kills on 25 attacks (.360) and adding on four blocks. Junior outside hitter Payton Caffrey led the team with nine blocks, while redshirt senior outside hitter Christina Ambrose saw two solo blocks. Redshirt freshman Adrian Ell led the team with 15 assists, while senior libero Kelsey Wicinski led the back row with 16 digs.
The Seminoles return home next weekend to host NC State and UNC, with Sunday’s match against the Tar Heels airing on ESPN2. The team will honor Gabrielle Reece on Sunday as they retire her jersey as a part of Alumni Weekend.
Florida State jumped ahead to take an early lead in the set, but Pitt kept it close and eventually took back the lead with a tough defensive effort at the net. A tough push on offense helped the Seminoles stay in it, and a .300 hitting percentage in the set helped FSU stay within only a few points of the Panthers.
FSU went on a 4-0 run to tie it up at 18-all, and earned the next two to take a 20-18 lead. A kill from Knuth gave FSU set point, and another deep corner kill from the sophomore middle blocker helped the Seminoles take the first set.
Unforced errors on both sides of the net decided most of the first few points in the second set, but it was a tougher effort from Pitt that carried the set from there.
The Seminoles saw a turning point midway through the set as a kill and a solo block from Ambrose gave FSU some momentum, and the Seminoles were able to close Pitt’s lead to just five points. Back-to-back assisted blocks from Caffrey slowed the Panthers, but UP was able to close it out to tie up the match 1-1.
Knuth picked up a pair of kills to start it off, but once again the Panthers determined most of the points in the beginning of the set. Pitt was able to find the floor for more kills in the set, and the Seminoles’ two blocks and six digs wasn’t enough to slow them down once they gained the lead.
While FSU looked for a late run to hold off Pitt from taking an advantage in the set, the Panthers went 10-2 at the end of the set to close it out.
The Seminoles’ front line picked up four total blocks and nine kills in the final set, but a tough Pitt offense was able to put the ball down 18 times for the best hitting percentage and the most kills it saw in all four sets.
The final set didn’t see a single lead change, as the Seminoles tied up the score at 3-all with a block from Caffrey and Murray, but the Panthers regained the lead and held it until the end.
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