LINCOLN, Neb. (Seminoles.com) — The Florida State Volleyball Team ended its impressive 2021 season with a 3-0 loss (20-25, 22-25, 17-25) at 10th-seeded Nebraska in front of nearly 8,000 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday night.
Despite ending the season, the Seminoles (20-10) returned to the 20-win column for the first time since 2016 in a year where expectations were unknown due to having their youngest team in 22 years. Everyone on the 2021 roster experienced their first NCAA postseason win on Friday when it swept Kansas State in the first round.
“You know, you’re always disappointed when you lose, but I’m not disappointed in the effort of this team — not only in the match but in the season,” FSU Head Coach Chris Poole said. “It’s a very young team; it’s the youngest I’ve had since 1994 and the fewest hitters I’ve had since 1994, and so for us to go through the season and accomplish the things we did, it was a miracle season.”
Against a team with plenty more size in the Huskers (23-7), Florida State surrendered 9.5 team blocks although managed to record 6.0 team blocks themselves. The experience in a frenzied atmosphere was welcomed by the Seminoles, whom were led by freshman libero Emery Dupes’ 20 digs and fellow freshman Audrey Koenig’s nine kills.
Despite the sweep, FSU forced several long rallies, many which it won because of its exceptional passing despite Nebraska’s tough service game.
“I thought they were a great serving team,” Dupes said. “They’re good at moving the ball around. It was just up to us at tracking the ball and reading to where it was going, so we were in the right spot every pass. I thought we did an excellent job with passing tonight. When we weren’t there, we did a good job of bettering the ball so we could get it over and manage it. I thought Morgan (Chacon) did a good job on outside. Like she said, an outside’s job is to manage the ball when we’re in a tough situation, and I think every hitter did an excellent job at that.”
The back row worked extra hard on Saturday night, with four players amassing double-digit digs including Dupes (20), redshirt junior Morgan Chacon (13), senior Caroline Golden (11) and junior Lauryn Burrows (11).
Florida State hit .122 in the match, while Nebraska hit .262. The Seminoles hung with the Huskers in each of the first two sets, and gave a valiant effort to maintain pace in the third and final frame when Nebraska hit .349.
“I think we were working hard to get passing, but obviously Nebraska is a really good serving team so we were trying to put the ball in the best place we could,” Chacon said. “My job on the outside is to take swings when I’m not in the best position. I thought that our passers did a great job, but obviously I had to manage a lot of situations. I thought our setters and passers did a great job doing the best they could, but sometimes you have to trust you’ll put the ball in and get another opportunity.”
Junior Emma Clothier capped her All-ACC First Team season with six kills and three blocks. She finishes her third season with outstanding numbers once again, leading FSU in total kills (287), kills per set (2.66), hitting percentage (.328), service aces (32) and total points (373). She will return as one of the top players in the conference next season.
Redshirt junior setter Lily Tessier accomplished a milestone that an FSU setter hadn’t reached since 2008, recording over 1,000 assists on the season. The Fort Myers, Fla., native ends the 2021 season with 1,019 assists and 10.09 assists per set, producing a strong year where she had to gain a rhythm with several new hitters.
“I’m really excited for the future of the program and glad we got the experience we did this year, and I’m really proud of our players,” Poole said.