No. 4 Noles come back from two-set deficit to steal win from the Panthers
PITTSBURGH -- In front of a record-setting crowd at the Fitzgerald Field House and facing a feat that has not been conquered this season, No. 4 Florida State (20-0, 8-0) erased a 2-0 deficit and stormed back to defeat Pittsburgh (17-3, 5-2) 3-2 (24-26, 18-25, 25-17, 25-19, 15-11) on Friday night.
“We showed a lot of character,” Noles head coach Chris Poole said. “We fought through adversity on the road in front of a great crowd. It was a lot of fun in the end, but the girls really turned it around and played the way they’re capable of instead of laying down and giving it away.”
In that match set, Pitt jumped out to the lead, forcing the Seminoles to side out before the Panthers went up 6-4 causing Poole to use a timeout.
Out of the break, the Seminoles grabbed the next two points with a kill from sophomore outside hitter Katie Horton that followed an attack error to tie before the Panthers sided out to take back the edge 7-6.
FSU freshman right side hitter Milica Kubura slammed home a kill before teaming up with junior outside hitter Nicole Walch for the block to go up 8-7 at the net switch.
At the switch, Walch fired one to the back corner for the 9-7 lead that would send Pitt into a timeout.
Following the break, Pitt earned the side out but Kubura fired a kill. Poole then went to the bench and subbed in freshman defensive specialist Cecilie Woie to serve.
The Panthers could not handle the delivery from Woie, setting up Walch for the easy kill and 11-8 lead and Pitt would called its final timeout.
After the break, the Panthers grabbed the next two points before Walch put one away for the side out up 12-10, but the Panthers fought back with a kill.
Following the side out Pitt was called for a bad set before junior middle blocker Kiara Wright stretched for a solo block, setting up match point, 14-11.
The Seminoles captured their sixth, five-set win of 2014 once Wright put away a shot from the middle.
Walch led the Seminole attack with 24 kills, hitting for .400 percent while Kubura produced nine.
“We just didn’t want to give up,” Walch said. “We were calm and we knew what we needed to do and I just made sure to do my part. It was a total team effort and I am proud we were able to steal the win.”
The Seminoles put up a season high of 23 total team blocks, with Wright and redshirt sophomore Sarah Burrington leading the charge. Wright posted two solo stops and 10 assists, while Burrington registered ten assists and a solo stop. Redshirt junior middle blocker Mercedes Vaughn had eight block assists.
“We talked about the blocking this week,” Poole said. “We knew it was going to be key for us to beat this team. As the match went on we got better and better on the block. We had several players step up big both blocking and attacking.”
Senior setter Sarah Wickstrom tallied 26 assists while sophomore setter Hailey Luke produced 21 and two aces.
Redshirt senior libero Katie Moshe was under 15 digs.