TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State volleyball team saw one of its best performances of the conference season on Friday (Oct. 27) night, taking down ACC rival North Carolina in three sets at Tully Gym.
The Seminoles (12-7, 6-5) held the Tar Heels (10-9, 7-4) to one of the lowest hitting percentages the team has seen this conference season, staying consistent to earn its fourth sweep of the season.
Cutting down on errors allowed the Seminoles to shine on offense and stay consistent on defense, and allowed UNC to make its own errors. With a number of different players stepping up in different areas of the court, Florida State is hoping to carry over this high level of play into Sunday’s match against conference leader NC State.
Set 1 – Florida State 25, North Carolina 11
Florida State came out of the gates strong, leading the Tar Heels from the beginning and holding it throughout the set. The Seminoles showed off its improvement on the defensive front from the beginning, using 13 digs and four total blocks to hold the Tar Heels to -.059 hitting.
The Seminoles saw a number of different players step up in the set, with freshman Deja Williams leading the offense with three kills and no errors on four attacks.
Set 2 – Florida State 25, North Carolina 22
The Tar Heels saw a better overall performance in the second set, but the tough Seminoles defense was able to hold UNC to just .171 hitting and help FSU continue to outhit the Tar Heels. UNC earned five total blocks to keep the Seminoles from running away with a lead, but a more consistent offense from FSU kept it ahead and helped it to take the set.
FSU’s offense stepped up in the second set to hold off a strong UNC team, with four different players hitting at least .400. Freshman Taryn Knuth was unstoppable throughout the set, knocking down five kills with no errors for a .833 attack percentage.
Set 3 – Florida State 27, North Carolina 25
The Seminoles faced the best UNC performance of the night in the final set, as the Tar Heels either led or stayed tied throughout a majority of the set. The Tar Heels saw both its best offensive and defensive performances of the match, hitting harder and more often, with a strong back row defense to keep rallies going.
While the Tar Heels led by as much as 23-19, the Seminoles were not ready to hand over the final set. Consistent offense and a few kills from Milica Kubura, Bozena Culo and Natasha Calkins helped close the gap, while errors on the UNC side helped the Seminoles catch up and take the lead and eventually the match.
Quoting Head Coach Chris Poole
Overall thoughts on the match…
“I thought the girls came out very strong in the first set. I think we’ve done a lot of things that we’ve done in practice. Consistency is the big thing for us right now. We’re trying to limit the errors that we make and I felt like we really did that in the first set and most of the second set. Different players stepped up at different times.
“We still allowed North Carolina to come back at times, but they are a good team, a physical team. I knew coming in we were going to have to play really well.”
On what is different about the team now from the beginning of the season…
“I think we are without a doubt getting better. The freshmen are catching up with what we are teaching them. We are getting more comfortable with the players in new positions. They’re driven and working hard.
“This is a group that is disappointed with how they’ve been playing the past few weeks, but they haven’t given up. They are still fighting. And that’s what we’ve been trying to express to them this week. It’s not over. We’re at the disadvantage for winning the ACC Championship but it’s not over in trying to make the ACC Tournament.
“So we just need to do a better job on the other side of the net and I feel like we did that tonight and that’s all we can ask. Just to get better every week.”
Up Next for the Seminoles
Florida State faces conference leader NC State on Sunday at 1:00 pm. The Wolfpack is 9-2 in conference play so far after falling to Miami on Friday night and North Carolina earlier in the season.
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