Florida State tops Virginia Tech in four sets to extend winning streak to 19
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Fourth-ranked Florida State (19-0, 7-0) extended its winning streak on Sunday as it defeated Virginia Tech (8-12, 1-6) 3-1 (25-22, 25-27, 21-25, 25-23) in Tully Gym.
“We’re not always pretty with what we’re doing but we’re finding a way to win,” FSU head coach Chris Poole said. “We still have some little things we need to work on. We’re lucky that we’ve got the balance that we do. We had some players that had off games and we had some that stepped up and played well and it does help.”
The Seminoles were big at the net, putting up a total of 14 blocks. Redshirt sophomore Sarah Burrington led the team with two solo stops and seven block assists. Burrington was efficient on the attack, adding nine kills while hitting for .533 percent.
Both junior middle blocker Kiara Wright and freshman right side hitter Milica Kubura added a solo block and three block assists each. Wright put down seven kills, while Kubura had six.
On the attack, junior outside hitter Nicole Walch contributed 10 kills while sophomore outside hitter Katie Horton had eight. Horton was big on defense adding 11 digs.
Senior setter Sarah Wickstrom tallied 22 assists while sophomore setter Hailey Luke had 16. Redshirt senior libero Katie Mosher was under 12 digs.
“There were a lot of points that carried momentum for each side,” Burrington said. “Each team gave a really good fight and we were able to come out in the end. Every team is giving up their best game and we want that. We want to get better and get ready for the post season.”
The Seminoles jumped out to a blazing 8-1 start in the first set behind hefty kills from redshirt junior middle blocker Mercedes Vaughn, Walch and Wright. Up 13-7, FSU surrendered a 7-3 charge to Virginia Tech forcing Poole to call timeout after the Seminoles committed a stretch of errors leading 16-14.
Out of the break, Virginia Tech sent a service error long before capturing the next two points by ways of a kill and an error to pull within one at 17-16.
The Hokies were behind by one three more times, but the hand of Horton broke it open and put down the final two points giving the Seminoles the first set victory 25-22 and a 1-0 match edge.
In the second, the set was tight before a big 6-1 rush put Florida State up 16-9.
Virginia Tech answered with a 6-0 run of its own before Horton stopped the streak with a shot from the left side, putting the Noles up by a pair before Kubura rejected a shot for the 18-15 lead.
After the Hokies sided out, Florida State stepped it up closing on a 7-2 barrage with kills from Walch and Wright. Wright and Kubura put up a block before Luke’s service ace sealed the second 25-17 for the 2-0 advantage.
In the third, the Seminoles fell behind and played down by three points both early and in the middle of the set. Florida State tied it 16-16 after a pair of Hokie errors and a kill by Kubura from the right side.
FSU took the lead 18-17 after Burrington went up for the solo stop, but the Hokies answered with a kill before the Noles were called for a bad set. Poole called timeout down one, 18-19.
Out of the break the Hokies committed their eighth service error of the set for another tie at 19-19. Virginia Tech pulled ahead 22-19 after a pair of FSU errors and a service ace.
The teams traded side outs twice before the Hokies teed up set point up 24-21. Virginia Tech grabbed the second set 25-21 after a block, cutting the FSU match lead to 2-1.
“We play like we’re on a roller coaster,” Horton said. “We tried to limit their runs and in the first set we did a good job but in the third set we fell back into that way again and we’ll work on that.”
In the fourth, Florida State fired from all angles of the court early to go up 5-1 before the Hokies called timeout. The Seminoles extended their lead to 7-1 before the Hokies answered with an 8-2 stretch to tie 9-9 causing Poole to call timeout.
Out of the break, Virginia Tech pulled ahead 11-9 before being called for a pair of errors for the 11-11 tie. Following another stalemate at 12, Virginia Tech went up by three, 16-13. On the next play, Wickstrom set Burrington for a kill down the middle before Kubura and Wright tucked strikes home for the 16-16 tie.
Florida State took back the lead 17-16 after the Hokies failed to get the ball over in three tries forcing Virginia Tech to timeout. Wright and Kubura teamed up for the block to go up by a pair, 18-16 but down the stretch the set saw four more ties.
Down by one, Burrington was called upon for back-to-back kills in order to reclaim the lead 23-22.
Florida State grabbed its first match point after Wickstrom delivered an ace up 24-22. The Hokies fought it off and earned the side out with a kill.
On the next play, Wickstrom found Burrington on the sweep for the cross-court kill giving the Seminoles the 25-23 fourth set and 3-1 match victory.
The Seminoles have won 19 consecutive matches, tying the best winning streak under Coach Poole. The 2009 squad put rode a 19-match winning streak to the national quarterfinals. FSU also extended its ACC home match winning streak to 33 matches -- a run that was started in the 2011 season.