Right-Side Hitting Conquers ‘Canes

By: FSU Sports Information
By: FSU Sports Information

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In front of an electrified crowd and national TV audience, the 19th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team defeated Miami, 3-1 (25-23, 24-26, 25-13, 25-19), on Wednesday night at Tully Gym. With the victory, the Seminoles move to 13-5 (6-1 ACC) while the Hurricanes fall to 13-4 (6-1 ACC).

The Seminoles were dominant with their right-side hitting as senior Elise Walch led the charge with 17 kills and freshman Izzy Carmona amassed 15 of her own. Carmona set career highs in kills, attacks, hitting percentage (.500) and blocks (5).

“I’m proud of Izzy,” Elise Walch said. “She stepped up majorly. We worked a lot in practice on hitting on the right side, so that’s helped us a lot. It’s been improving every day.”

“They played great,” head coach Chris Poole said. “We need a lot from the right side. The reason we run a 6-2 is to give us a chance to get some additional kills and they really came through tonight, which is really big for our success.”

Sophomore outside hitter Nicole Walsh also contributed 14 kills and posted a .387 hitting percentage while adding eight digs.

“You can’t do anything without a pass, set and a hit,” Nicole Walch said. “But it was awesome. I was more focused on my passing tonight. I wanted to make sure that everyone else had the opportunity to hit as well. It was really fun.”

Both setters contributed double-doubles on the night as junior Sarah Wickstom performed her team-leading seventh of the season behind 26 assists and 10 digs. Freshman Hailey Luke earned her first of the year with 24 assists and 10 digs, a career best.

Senior middle blocker Ashley Neff accounted for nine blocks on the night while, Carmona rejected five. Overall, FSU and Miami each accounted for 11 blocks apiece.

The opening lived up to the rivalry hype as the score was tied 13 times. The set came down to the wire as the Seminoles looked to put away the Hurricanes at 24-21. However, they refused to quit by fending off a pair of set points pulling to 24-23. Neff ended the set with a kill after an FSU timeout.

With the score tied early in set two, Miami continued to hold the edge until the Seminoles knotted the set 19-19. The score tied five more times down the stretch as Carmona recorded three clutch kills. However, the surge was not enough as Miami took the second set, 26-24.

“We were making a lot of mistakes,” Poole said. “We went in and said that if we could cut down on the errors, we weren’t playing bad, we were playing well for most of the game and we just needed to play smart.”

The third set belonged to Florida State as it moved ahead 2-1 behind a 25-13 win, thanks to an 8-1 run with redshirt freshman middle blocker Sarah Burrington on serve for the majority of the haul. During the stretch, Elise and Nicole Walch traded off six-straight kills to stretch the lead to 19-11 before Miami ended the streak.

Using the momentum from the third set, the Seminoles capped off the match with a 25-19 win in the fourth set. FSU mustered an 8-1 run after being tied at 14, forcing the Hurricanes to make five errors down the stretch.

“I was so proud of our team,” Elise Walch said. “We kind of fell behind a little bit in the second set and went down and we played really hard and I was really proud of us.”

In the Chris Poole era FSU now holds a winning record against every ACC team. The win also makes it 21 consecutive victories over conference opponents at home.

The Seminoles will travel to South Bend, Ind., for a match against Notre Dame at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The match will be streamed on ESPN3.

Follow Florida State indoor volleyball on Seminoles.com as well as on the team’s official Twitter (@FSU_Volleyball) and Facebook pages (Facebook.com/FSUVolleyball).


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