Sept. 8, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In one of the biggest rivalries in the state of Florida, the Seminole volleyball team was unable to get past the No. 8 Gators, falling 3-0 (22-25, 24-26, 24-26) at Tully Gym in the first televised match for FSU this season. The Noles are now 5-2 on the season while Florida remains undefeated at 5-0.
“Unfortunately we just didn’t make enough breaks for ourselves and it allowed [Florida] to be able to stay in rhythm,” Florida State head coach Chris Poole said. “But I am proud of the way they battled. They could have come out after set two and folded and they didn’t, they played hard. If they play like that in every match then they’ll be in any match they play the rest of the season.”
Florida State started the first set with a powerful kill from heavy-hitter Brianna Barry. The junior middle blocker once again led her squad overall with 13 kills (more than any single UF player), a .417 hitting percentage and five block assists. She was tied for first in the ACC for hitting percentage coming into the match and is fifth for overall kills in the conference.
Despite a solid performance all around, FSU was unable to hold on after point 22 to fall in the first set. Entering the second set, FSU got out to a slight lead early on with the final four to five points really becoming a battle back and forth between both teams. One questionable point that appeared to be a kill for the Seminoles was not called down and the ball remained in play and the point eventually went in favor of Florida. In the end if would be the Gators who triumphed in a 26-24 win moving into what would be the final set of the evening.
Despite the two-set deficit, Florida State came out in set three stronger and more determined to take down the rival team. Barry put down five kills in the third set, just two shy of Florida’s outside hitter Callie Rivers, and stopped two attacks alongside sophomore Stephanie Neville who had five total block assists in the match. Once again the final set was a battle at the finish with FSU matching points up to 23 before two UF kills sealed the match win for the Gators.
After three sets, sophomore Lauren Richardson notched nine kills with junior Jordana Price in a close third with seven but topping the team with six block assists. The Seminoles out-blocked the Gators with 12.5 team blocks to five and 23 assisted blocks to eight.
“This is the first time this year we’ve met a team that big and physical,” Poole said. “That was a concern of mine because we’re used to being the bigger team against everyone we’ve played.
“I think there were times in the set we didn’t adjust to it well but as the match went on and particularly in set three I think we did better at adjusting to it. So those are the things you want to learn from. If they can learn from match-to-match and week-to-week then we’re going to improve as a team and in time then the program will continue to improve.”
The all-time series between the teams goes in favor of Florida 31-21 with the Gators now on a 17-match winning streak against the Seminoles.
Next up for Florida State is a long stretch of road matches starting with the Raider Challenge in Dayton, Ohio, Sept. 12-13. The first match of that tournament is Friday the 12th at 5:00 p.m. against Niagara. Following the two-day event, the Noles remain away from home with trips to ACC opponents Miami, Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech and Clemson before returning to Tully Gym on Oct. 10.
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