LINCOLN, Neb. (seminoles.com) — The Florida State Volleyball team put together an efficient performance on both sides of the net in its NCAA First Round sweep over Kansas State on Friday evening at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb.
The Seminoles (20-9) reached their 20th victory of the season by sweeping the Wildcats (15-13) in emphatic fashion (25-20, 25-16, 25-17), playing one of their best all-around matches of the season. FSU hit .340 in the match while holding Kansas State to just a .077 hitting percentage, covering every area of the floor in what was a strong defensive performance.
For a group with one of the youngest rosters in the country, Friday’s win was a key step toward building momentum for the program.
“It’s just getting the monkey off our back really to be able to go in, relax and play,” FSU Head Coach Chris Poole said. “Before the match started, we talked about the fact that most of the women in the room had never been to an NCAA Tournament and never won a match in the NCAA Tournament, just because we’re so young. It’s just historical in that fashion that we need to be able to go in, relax and play.
“I felt like from the beginning we did that, and it doesn’t really surprise me because I think that all year, they have raised their level of play up against the ACC, which was really good this year.”
Junior middle blocker Emma Clothier could not be stopped, recording 11 kills and no attack errors while hitting .611 and adding four blocks. From the start, Clothier was a dominant force on the attack, hitting through Kansas State’s block all night.
“I think our passing was very good tonight,” Clothier said. “It starts with the pass, and then it goes to the setter, and Lily (Tessier) had a really amazing night. She was doing a great job just distributing everything and making for a balanced offense, and I think that really helped us hit efficiently.”
Redshirt junior Lily Tessier is credited with running a solid offense, registering 30 assists along with six digs and five kills. Playing in a 5-1 formation that is different from what Poole has run most of his years at FSU, Tessier now has 995 assists this season and is close to becoming the first Seminole since 2008 to record 1,000 assists in a year.
Sophomore Sydney Conley was another tough out up front, picking up eight kills and hitting .571 along with two digs and a block. Freshman Audrey Koenig, one of eight Seminoles playing in their first NCAA Tournament, added six kills. Redshirt junior Morgan Chacon had five kills and 10 digs.
The Seminoles had a sideout percentage of nearly 76 percent, while the Wildcats sided out 54 percent of the time. FSU broke off several smaller runs in each set to eventually pull away, including a 4-0 run early in the third set that brought a 3-2 deficit to a 6-3 lead.
FSU also managed to hit around Kansas State’s front row all match, as the Wildcats registered just one block – tied for the second lowest by an opponent this season.
The Seminoles now play 10th-seeded Nebraska in the NCAA Second Round on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on ESPN+ in what should be a frenzied atmosphere.
“It was definitely a really wonderful experience playing in this gym,” Tessier said. “We love having fans, and we had a really good fanbase today. We’re looking forward to tomorrow and continuing this success.”