TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The No. 14 Florida State indoor volleyball team withstood a tough test from Wake Forest on Friday evening and picked up an important conference victory, winning 3-1 (25-17, 25-16, 22-25, 25-19) in front of 1,115 fans at Tully Gym.
It was the play of three of the tallest figures on the team that sparked the Seminoles (11-2, 3-1) to their 17th straight home victory on Friday night. Senior middle blocker Sareea Freeman delivered 10 kills and posted a .643 hitting percentage, continuing to show off her expanding offensive game that makes her one of the nation’s most versatile middle blockers.
“Anytime you get a win you are always going to be happy,” head coach Chris Poole said. “I wish we had played a little more consistent during the match. Game three we tried to mix it up a little bit and let the freshmen go in and they did fine. What happens is sometimes it throws your chemistry off a little bit, and even though they played well it through us out of sync a little bit. We got everybody back in and got back in sync that fourth game and was able to put it away.”
Fellow middle blocker Ashley Neff was stellar once again, recording 10 kills in 13 attacks for a .769 hitting percentage. Neff added four blocks as she entered Friday’s contest as the only player in the nation in the Top 10 in hitting percentage and blocks per set. Neff’s good offensive performance elevates her hitting percentage to .476 this season.
While Neff and Freeman were relied on when Florida State had occasional struggles in the match, it was senior right-side hitter Marija Milosavljevic who had nine kills and a .571 hitting percentage. The Bajina Basta, Serbia native saved her best hitting for the fourth set, posting three kills, two blocks and even an assist. Trailing 6-5 in the fourth frame, Milosavljevic combined on back-to-back blocks to give FSU the lead, and delivered a few more kills that broke ties and gave FSU a pair of leads.
Milosavljevic added four blocks in the contest. Last season, the Serbian saved Florida State from a five-set loss at home by the Demon Deacons (6-9, 0-3) with a career-high 12 blocks off the bench.
Wake Forest hung around in Friday’s match partially by being able to find hitting lanes against a Florida State squad that was ninth in the nation in blocks per set. The Seminoles recorded just five blocks in four sets of action, which was a season low. It was also FSU’s lowest in a match beyond three sets since recording four blocks in a loss at Miami on Nov. 26, 2011.
Sophomore setter Sarah Wickstrom continued her steady play, compiling 25 assists and adding four digs. Senior Fatma Yildirim added 12 digs while redshirt sophomore Katie Mosher also had 12 digs.
Earning some valuable time was freshman outside hitter Nicole Walch, who energized the Seminoles with six kills and a .455 hitting percentage in two sets. Overall, Florida State recorded a .307 hitting percentage, the seventh time they have hit above the .300 threshold as well as the third straight match.
In Florida State’s 17-match winning streak at Tully Gym, Friday’s match was just the sixth time the Seminoles were taken beyond a three-set match.
Wake Forest received a good performance from outside hitter Anna Carley, who had 10 kills and a .286 hitting percentage. Setter Danae Rosendall delivered 40 assists for the Demon Deacons.
The Seminoles prepare to face rival Duke on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Tully Gym. Florida State is looking to defeat the Blue Devils in Tallahassee for the fourth year in a row and sweep both Duke and Wake Forest in the same home weekend for the fifth time in school history.