MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – In its second and final match of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Florida State volleyball team fell to No. 9 Wisconsin on Saturday night. After winning the first set with a dramatic 6-0 run, the Badgers took the next three sets to take the match.
Florida State saw a number of players step up over the weekend, as four different Seminoles recorded a double-double, including two new additions to the lineup – setter Adrian Ell and outside hitter Payton Caffrey – and returning seniors Christina Ambrose and Brianne Burkert.
In Saturday night’s match, both Caffrey and Ambrose tallied more than 15 kills each and added on 20 and 14 digs, respectively, as both made an impact as six-rotation players over the weekend.
While the Seminoles hit .148 in the match, FSU’s defense was able to hold Wisconsin’s offense to just a .169 hitting percentage. Through the first three sets FSU stayed competitive with the Badgers, never letting them lead by more than four points.
“Although we went 0-2 this weekend, it was against two of the top 10 teams in the country,” head coach Chris Poole said. “Six of the seven sets we played this weekend were all competitive. We had our chances, but just simply made key mistakes. At the same time, this team has a lot of potential and I believe they are going to keep improving every week we play. We have work to do, but this is a group of young ladies that are very hungry and want to get better this season.”
Florida State has a quick turn-around before its next non-conference event as the team heads to Fort Collins, Colo. next weekend to face TCU, No. 25 CSU and Cincinnati in the Colorado State Tournament.
“We have another really challenging weekend ahead,” Poole said. “It’s a short practice week for us before we go back on the road, but we are looking forward to the competition.”
Set 1 – FSU 25, UW 23
The Seminoles jumped out to an early lead in the beginning of the match, using a big offensive presence to stay ahead of the Badgers. While Wisconsin eventually passed FSU and took the lead and jumped out to a 23-19 lead, Florida State come back to go on a 6-0 run, closing out the first set with a pair of back-to-back kills from Christina Ambrose.
FSU saw its most efficient offensive performance in the first set, hitting .310 with 14 kills on only 29 total attacks.
Set 2 – UW 26, FSU 24
The beginning of the second set stayed tight, but the Seminoles were the first team to gain a two-point lead in the set, reaching 10-8 and holding the lead until the Badgers closed the gap to 19-18, and eventually tied it back up at 21-all, and held the momentum throughout the end of the set to tie up the match.
Set 3 – UW 25, FSU 23
While the Badgers gained an early lead in the set, FSU was able to stay tough and let Wisconsin make its own errors. The Badgers eventually came back to lead at 15-14 and Florida State was unable to regain the lead.
Just a point away from set point, FSU was able to regain some momentum as Wisconsin made errors, letting the Seminoles catch up. FSU saw 16 kills in the set, which was enough to keep the Badgers from running away with the set, but Wisconsin was able to stay tough on offense to close out the set for a 2-1 lead.
Set 4 – UW 25, FSU 22
Both teams stayed within a point of each other for the first 11 points in the set until Wisconsin was able to pull ahead at 7-5. From there the Badgers never let the Seminoles regain the lead.
A 5-0 run from FSU held Wisconsin from reaching set point, but a pair of kills closed out the match for the Badgers.
Poole vs. the Big Ten
The two matches this weekend will mark the 10th and 11th time the Seminoles have taken on a current Big Ten team since Coach Poole’s arrival in 2008. This also marks the fifth time Poole has scheduled a preseason match against a Big Ten program since he began scheduling in 2009.
Florida State has recorded five wins against Big Ten programs in Poole’s tenure, with a wins against No. 8 Illinois (3-0, 2009), No. 8 Purdue (3-1, 2011), No. 21 Ohio State (3-1, 2012), No. 7 Michigan (3-2, 2013) and No. 7 Nebraska (3-1, 2014).
FSU enters the season unranked, but received 17 votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top-25 preseason poll.
The Seminoles have now defeated an AVCA Top-25 team without being ranked three times under Poole – a 3-0 sweep over No. 8 Illinois in 2009, a 3-1 victory over No. 23 Tulsa in 2011 and a 3-0 win over No. 20 Miami in the same year. Florida State went to the Elite Eight in 2009 and the Final Four in 2011.
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