Tallahassee, FL - The Florida State University volleyball team trailed by two sets, made a comeback in the third and fourth frames, but ultimately fell in a five-setter to Miami, 3-2 (18-25, 17-25, 26-24, 25-22, 17-19) in one of the most exciting matchups of the season on Friday afternoon at Tully Gym.
The loss means the Seminoles (20-10, 12-8) will finish the conference season in fourth place. The Hurricane (23-8, 13-7) grab the third-place spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was as competitive as ever throughout the season.
Junior outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic had a career performance this afternoon, setting a team high for the season with 25 kills and adding 16 digs for her 14th double-double of the year. Djurdjevic also recorded a season-high 27.5 points, and showed a .382 hitting percentage as she anchored the offense.
Junior Jekaterina Stepanova also played well, recording 16 kills and 10 digs for her ninth double-double of the year. FSU had a .219 hitting percentage, while Miami showed its potency on offense with a .284 attack percentage.
Also stepping up was sophomore middle blocker Sareea Freeman. The Fresno, Calif., native had a career-high 11 kills, a .529 hitting percentage and three blocks. With the five-set match, FSU recorded 13 team blocks, tying for its fifth-most this season.
Setter Patricia Figueiredo led the Seminoles with 28 assists. The total is one short of her season-high at FSU, which also came against Miami in a 3-1 victory earlier in the season. Sophomore Duygu Duzceler added 25 assists, and recorded 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the year.
Senior Jenna Romanelli had 26 digs for FSU, giving her 1,162 career digs and moving her past Nancy Gaspadarek (1986-89) for fifth all-time. She is now 24 away from passing one of the school’s all-time greats in Maggie Philgence (1987-90) for fourth on the career list.
Miami’s Lane Carico led her squad with 21 assists and added 14 digs. Libero Ryan Shaffer posted 30 digs, and Ariell Cooke had 18 kills and a .517 hitting percentage to lead the Hurricane attack. Tallahassee native Alex Johnson had seven kills, 19 digs and five assists.
FSU rebounded offensively after falling hard in the first two frames. In the third set, FSU hit at a .333 clip and was sparked by Djurdjevic’s five kills and one block. Miami held match point at 24-23, but an attack error by Carico was followed by a kill from Stepanova and block from she and middle blocker Ashley Neff to extend the match.
FSU recorded 16 kills in the fourth frame, and trailed 19-15 until reeling off seven consecutive points late in the set. Leading 22-20, Marija Milosavljevic and Freeman amassed consecutive kills, and an attack error by Christine Williamson of Miami forced a fifth set.
The final frame was a back-and-forth thriller. In the end, FSU had two separate match points, leading by scores of 15-14 and 16-15. In its first match point, a long rally ensued until Carico gave the Hurricane life with a kill. In the second opportunity, Taylor Hollins added a kill to tie the set at 16-16. Miami also had a chance to put the match away leading 17-16, but Stephanie Neville came through with one of her four kills. However, Carico fittingly ended the match on a kill to help Miami take down its biggest conference rival.
FSU wraps up its regular season on Saturday at noon when it faces Florida A&M at the Al Lawson Center in Tallahassee. The Seminoles finished 4-1 on their regular-season ending homestand.