TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The 15th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team wrapped up the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational by getting two important victories, defeating 16th-ranked Western Kentucky, 3-1, followed by a 3-0 sweep over Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday night at Tully Gym.
The Seminoles (4-2) had their attacking game clicking on all cylinders on Saturday, totaling a .320 percentage against Western Kentucky followed by a season-best .379 mark versus the Eagles (0-5). Overall, Florida State combined to hit .344, led by sophomore Nicole Walch’s 23 kills and 3.29 kills per set.
Senior middle blocker Ashley Neff combined for 19 kills in the two-match affair, registering a strong .483 hitting percentage as she was the beneficiary of strong play from junior setter Sarah Wickstrom. Sophomore Mara Green had some quality floor time as well, putting down 13 kills along with a .619 hitting percentage.
Redshirt junior libero Katie Mosher added 24 digs in two matches to increase her career total to 1,186 for fifth-place on the school’s all-time list. Her final dig against FGCU moved her past Seminole legend Maggie Philgence, and she is now 26 short of passing Jenna Romanelli for fourth place.
Florida State’s afternoon win against Western Kentucky was its 24th Top 25 victory in school history, as well as its second of the season. In the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the Seminoles have posted school records of five AVCA Top 25 wins each and will have more opportunities this season to eclipse that mark.
Nicole Walch wore down the Hilltoppers (4-3) with 14 kills and a .375 hitting percentage, and also affected the outcome with five crucial service aces. Walch’s five aces are the most by a Seminole since Visnja Djurdjevic tallied six against North Carolina on Nov. 6, 2011.
Neff put together a fine offensive effort, recording 11 kills and a .444 attack percentage as she worked well with Wickstrom. Neff added four blocks, while fellow middle blocker Sarah Burrington matched Neff’s total for the second straight match with four blocks of her own. Burrington also recorded seven kills and continues to gain a good rhythm with freshman setter Hailey Luke.
Elise Walch added 10 kills and a .421 attack percentage against WKU, being used as Florida State’s primary option in the first few sets to keep it in the match.
Western Kentucky held the lead or tied throughout the entire first set, dominating the Seminoles with a .382 hitting percentage as it posted a 25-20 win. Although the rough start had the possibility of spiraling downward for the Seminoles, Florida State picked up its pace of play in set two and shut down the Hilltopper hitters to a .000 attack percentage.
Florida State’s presence on the block that started in set two carried all the way toward the end of the match. In the third set, the Seminoles built a 17-10 lead on an attack error by Western Kentucky’s Noelle Langenkamp, then would extend it to 23-13 on a few service aces from Nicole Walch. Holding a 24-15 set-point advantage, Elise Walch and Burrington combined on a block off the attack of Haley Brodway to take the third set.
The fourth set proved to be much tighter, with Florida State relinquishing an early lead and trailing 19-16 behind a kill from Boyan. Three consecutive points were won by Florida State, including another Hilltopper attack error, to tie the set at 19-19. An important kill by Neff finally gave the Seminoles the lead again at 22-21, and a cross-court kill by Nicole Walch ended the match.
Redshirt freshman Leah Mikesky helped the Seminoles with eight kills against FGCU in the second match, while Florida State sided out on 75 percent of the Eagles’ serves. Only two lead changes occurred in the match, with the Seminoles defeating FGCU soundly and holding the Eagles to a .202 hitting percentage.
No. 23 Ohio State is the champion of the Four Points by Sheraton Seminole Invitational with a 3-0 record. Florida State finished second at 2-1, while Western Kentucky finished third. The winner of Sunday’s match between Florida A&M and FGCU will be fourth.
The Seminoles go on a month-long hiatus from Tully Gym as they embark on a string of nine matches away from Tallahassee. Florida State travels to College Station, Texas, next week to face Siena, Texas A&M and Michigan in another competitive tournament.
Florida State’s next home match will be Friday, Oct. 11, against Maryland at 7 p.m.
Follow Florida State indoor volleyball on Seminoles.com as well as on the team’s official Twitter (@FSU_Volleyball) and Facebook pages (Facebook.com/FSUVolleyball).