Dec. 13, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, ILL. - The 16th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team had its season come to a close after it fell to 13th-ranked Wisconsin 3-1, (25-15, 23-25, 25-22, 25-15) on Friday night. The Seminoles end the year with a 26-8 overall record in addition to their third ever Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Wisconsin (26-9) advances to play either Illinois or Purdue for the Champaign Regional Championship.
"We struggled to get into a rhythm tonight," head coach Chris Poole said. "Sometimes that happens. When you get to this level, you've got to give credit to your opponent. I thought Wisconsin did a great job of staying consistent most of the time. I thought they did what they needed to do in order to take advantage of things we were trying to do."
For the third-straight match, sophomore Nicole Walch led the Seminole attack in double-double figures, swinging for 16 kills and 16 digs.
Senior middle blocker Ashley Neff finished her Seminole career with six blocks on the night, helping the Seminoles to a total of nine overall. Neff moved into third place on the FSU all-time blocking list with a total of 612. The Kennesaw, Ga. native passed Vicki Zinki, who tallied 611.
"The team is completely different from when I first got here in 2010," Neff said. "The level has just gotten incredibly high. We've brought a lot of good recruits in, and it's amazing to see a program make changes like that. It's really a great opportunity, and I'm blessed to have been a part of it. I'm going to miss it, but I hope that they keep going, and I know they will. CP is a great coach, and I know they're going to do great things."
In the first set, the Seminoles were plagued by errors and could not generate much offense as Wisconsin took the 1-0 edged 25-15.
Proving to be the opposite of the first, Florida State came out with the second set lead, forcing Wisconsin to work out of as many as a four-point hole. The Badgers came back to tie, 18-18 before eventually taking the lead. However, the Seminoles kept siding out down the stretch before reclaiming the lead 22-21. Seeing another tie at 22-22, Nicole Walch put the Noles ahead with a big kill and was followed by an attack error by the Badgers to set up set point. Wisconsin held off one before Poole used a timeout to draw up a play. Executing the side out, Neff swung the kill that tied the match 1-1, taking the set 25-23.
The third set was much closer before Wisconsin went on a 4-0 scamper to go up 16-12. FSU pulled to within one late, however, the teams kept siding out before the Badgers closed it out 25-22 in order to go up 2-1.
"The third set was going back and forth," Poole said. "We were very close at the end. It did take the air out of us. I think we came back in set four, not having nearly the same focus we had had in sets two and three. That's to Wisconsin's credit that we could just never get in a rhythm completely, and we weren't able to pass and defend or side out as we normally are able to do, so I think that was very frustrating."
Despite jumping out to an early lead in the fourth, the Seminoles could not find an answer for the Badger attack in order to keep their season alive, falling 25-15.
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).