Tallahassee, FL - The 24th-ranked Florida State University volleyball team fell to Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Wake Forest, 3-0 (19-25, 18-25, 20-25), on Friday evening at Tully Gym.
Entering the contest, FSU owned a nine-match winning streak against Wake Forest that was its second-longest active streak against any conference opponent. Playing without one of the ACC’s top players in junior outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic, the Seminoles (14-6, 6-4) struggled offensively while the Demon Deacons (13-7, 6-4) used 15 kills by junior Kadija Fornah to get a key road win.
Filling in well for Djurdjevic’s absence was senior outside hitter Stephanie Neville, who used 11 kills and a .417 hitting percentage to pace FSU’s offense. The Seminoles, however, were only able to muster a .169 hitting percentage, while Wake Forest hit at a .301 clip.
Middle blocker Lauren Young joined Neville in having a solid all-around performance. The senior from Ben Wheeler, Texas, provided plenty of noticeable energy and recorded six kills and a .455 attack percentage for the Seminoles.
Defensively, the Demon Deacons showed a greater propensity for batting away any FSU attacks, registering eight team blocks while the Seminoles recorded only 3.5. The total is FSU’s lowest of the season, as it entered the match at second in the ACC in blocks per set.
Senior Jenna Romanelli’s 10 digs leaves her only four away from gaining sole possession of 10th place on the school’s career list. Romanelli is also just 18 digs shy of reaching 1,000 for her career, as she shows 982 in less than four seasons of work.
Sophomore Duygu Duzceler led FSU with 22 assists, while junior Patricia Figueiredo added 15. Both players also combined for 12 digs, while junior Jekaterina Stepanova led the team with 12 digs.
FSU got off to a slow start after recording a .073 attack percentage in the first set. Duzceler led the team with seven assists as the primary setter, but Fornah recorded a team-best five kills in the frame. FSU kept the set close with five consecutive points to trim its deficit to 14-13 midway through, but Wake responded with three points of its own to take a 17-13 advantage. FSU stayed close by cutting it to 20-18 on a kill by Rachael Morgan, but Wake won five of the next six points to take the set.
Young gave the Seminoles a spark off the bench in set two, but it wasn’t enough as FSU fell behind the entire frame. Young provided some offense with five kills, and Duzceler added 10 assists as the Seminoles improved their hitting percentage at .268 in the set. A late kill by Andrea Beck and a block by Kristen White gave Wake its largest lead at 23-14 in the set, and the frame ended on a kill by Fornah to put the Demon Deacons ahead in the match, 2-0. Wake then used 17 kills in the third set to power past FSU in a clean sweep.
The Seminoles return to Tully Gym on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. for a match against conference leader Duke. FSU will also host its lone “Paint it Pink” match on Sunday in an effort to help raise breast cancer awareness.