CORAL GABLES, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The sixth-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team had trouble mustering any sort of offensive flow as it fell to conference rival Miami, 3-1 (25-18, 17-25, 22-25, 18-25) on Friday evening at the James L. Knight Sports Complex at the University of Miami.
The loss for the Seminoles (6-1, 0-1) is their first of the season and puts them at 0-1 in conference play for the first time since 2008 when they also fell to the Hurricanes (7-1, 1-0).
Playing before a record crowd at the University of Miami gymnasium on ESPNU, the Hurricanes fed off the energy inside their facility. After a well-played first set by Florida State, the Seminoles could not sustain momentum as Miami created better offensive opportunities throughout the match. The Hurricanes also won several of the longer rallies and benefitted from some uncharacteristic errors by Florida State.
“We played very flat through most of the match,” head coach Chris Poole said. “Particularly our overall outside game was not as strong. We were out of sync and Miami played great. They did what they needed to do to be successful, and unfortunately we didn’t raise our level up to combat that. It’s a long season and you’re going to have some bad days. You just have to learn from it.”
Florida State hit a season-low .155 on the evening, and was out-blocked by Miami by an 11-9 count. Redshirt sophomore Katie Mosher was extremely active in the back row and put together a season-high 27 digs, helping start several offensive chances that Florida State was unable to convert.
Junior right-side hitter Elise Walch led Florida State with 12 kills and added two blocks, while senior middle blocker Sareea Freeman finished with nine kills, a .500 hitting percentage and six blocks.
Miami had four student-athletes recorded double-digit kills, led by Alex Johnson’s 16 put-downs. Alexis Mourning added 14 kills, and Emani Sims and Taylor Hollins had 13 and 10, respectively.
The Seminoles had a good start offensively in set one, hitting .306 which included 14 kills in 36 attacks. Fatma Yildirim put together four kills on 12 swings, while Elise Walch came through with three put-downs in four attacks to spark Florida State. Mosher did a lot of covering in the first frame, totaling seven digs while Olivera Medic added five following many lengthy rallies. The set ended with back to back kills from Freeman, first on an overkill then on a tip shot in front of the net.
After going back and forth early in set two, Miami stole momentum by going on a few runs and winning some of the long rallies. Florida State put together just nine kills in set two while the Hurricanes recorded a .300 attack percentage. Through two sets, Mosher had 14 digs while Freeman recorded six kills and five blocks.
Florida State played smoother in set three, but was plagued by some key attack errors and mistiming on the offensive end. Miami controlled the pace of play and recorded a .364 attack percentage in the frame, while FSU improved from set two but failed to go on a momentum-changing run.
The Seminoles once again kept it tight in set four, but Miami broke away following a 9-9 tie by winning 11 of the next 15 rallies. The match ended on a kill by Mourning to give FSU its first loss of the year. The victory for Miami was its first over a Top 10 team.
Florida State returns to the court with another difficult tournament at the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup in Houston, Texas next weekend. Florida State faces No. 13 Pepperdine on Friday, Sept. 14 at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed by a match on the same day at Houston at 8 p.m. The Seminoles wrap up the tournament facing Ohio State on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 2:30 p.m.