TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In front of a Tully Gym crowd, 12th-ranked Florida State earned a 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-21) victory in front of 1,600 fans to snap a 21-match losing streak against 11th-ranked Florida on Wednesday.
In the process, Florida State extended its school-record win streak at Tully Gym to 21 matches. The Seminoles recorded their 13th consecutive victory and snapped Florida’s stretch of 14 consecutive matches won.
“It means so much to this program,” head coach Chris Poole said. “It’s been the one thing we haven’t been able to accomplish yet and we played them so well over the last few years. I knew it was getting closer. They’re a great program, a great coaching staff; they’ve got tradition. But we’re building tradition and we’re trying to build the right program and I feel like the girls worked really hard…”
Florida State accumulated 56 digs in the three-set match, led by sophomore libero Katie Mosher’s 16 digs. She defended several attacks successfully and kept the ball moving on Florida State’s side of the court.
Senior Fatma Yildirim finished with her fourth double-double of the year. She tallied 10 kills and 13 digs for the Seminoles and finished with a .286 hitting percentage against a vaunted Florida defense.
“I can’t even explain how happy I am right now,” Yildirim said after the match. “I can’t thank the crowd enough who showed up and I couldn’t even hear myself think. It was great to win this game. I think we did great as a team and didn’t let them take over after the second set. We just shut it down and played so well.”
Senior Sareea Freeman proved her worth against the Gators as well with her middle attack. She put down nine kills and added three blocks. In the third set, when the Seminoles were starting to let Florida creep back into the match, Freeman came through and helped elevate the Seminoles to a fantastic finish.
“It means everything,” Freeman said of the win. “The last point I rushed the court and was so happy to the point that tears were coming from my eyes. I’m so happy. We’re still undefeated at home and taking care of Tully and taking care of our business at home. I’m so proud of my team. This needed to happen and I’m so glad it happened my last year.”
Overall, Florida State hit .222 in the match. The Seminoles were out-blocked by Florida 9-6, but had only two service errors compared to Florida’s nine. The two-setter combination of Duygu Duzceler and Sarah Wickstrom finished with 33 assists. Junior outside hitter Olivera Medic recorded seven kills while junior middle blocker Ashley Neff added seven kills and two blocks.
The victory against Florida gives Florida State its first Top-10 RPI win of the season as the Gators came in ranked 10th. The Seminoles are now 8-2 against the current Top 50 RPI teams. Florida State also picked up its 12th AVCA Top-25 win under Poole, including its fourth this season. The school record for most AVCA Top-25 wins in a season is five held by last season’s NCAA National Semifinal team.
The first set was close and saw eight lead changes as both teams exchanged several points and forced many long rallies. Neff led the charge in the first frame with three kills and one block. A service error by Florida’s Taylor Unroe tied the set at 20 and both teams exchanged the next six points, which was capped by a kill from Freeman. Back-to-back attack errors by Gabby Mallette sealed the first set for the Seminoles.
Florida State started off well in set two, taking a 10-5 lead on an attack error from Chloe Mann, who had 10 kills on the evening. A service ace by Duzceler brought the Florida State lead to 20-13, and while Florida tried to inch back, a kill by Yildirim made it 23-19 for the Seminoles. Yildirim followed with another kill and Mara Green’s kill gave Florida State the second set.
The Seminoles held on in the third frame. A Medic kill made it 15-7 for the Seminoles, but Florida came back by winning nine of the next 13 points to cut its deficit to 19-16. A block by Freeman and Green gave the Seminoles a 22-19 lead. Neff’s match-ending kill sent the crowd into a frenzy as the winning streak against the Gators ended.