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Noles Block Out Tar Heels
Courtesy: Seminoles.com
Release: 11/01/2013
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Nov. 1, 2013

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In its sixth five-set match of the year, the 20th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team upset No.12 North Carolina 3-2 (25-27,25-21, 25-16, 17-25, 15-8) at Tully Gym on Friday night. The Seminoles move to 16-6, 9-2 while the Tar Heels fall to 20-2, 9-2, making for a tight race for the ACC lead just after the halfway point in conference play.

"Our girls stepped up," head coach Chris Poole said. "We told our girls that if they wanted to play for the ACC Championship that this was it and we had to go after North Carolina because they're at the top of the conference right now. It gave us a great opportunity to beat a great team and the girls stepped up very well."

The Seminoles sit behind Duke in the ACC standings, trailing by just one match with the Blue Devils holding the head-to-break tiebreaker for now. The two teams square off at Tully Gym on Nov. 24 at 1 p.m.

With the victory, FSU captured its fourth win over a ranked opponent this season (then No.7 Michigan, No.16 Kentucky, No.17 Kentucky) while moving to 5-1 in five-set thrillers. The Seminoles also extend their ACC home match winning streak to 22. FSU's ranked win tonight is tied for the 10th-highest in program history.

Florida State put up a wall around the net as it tallied a total of 28 team blocks, setting a new record in the Poole era. In fact, the Seminoles surpassed the season high mid-way through the third set at 17.

"The block was huge," head coach Chris Poole said. "We're a physical team and when our block is on it generates a lot of kills and forces our opponent to do different things and I think that certainly helped set the tone of the match."

Redshirt freshman Sarah Burrington tied the best blocking performance with 14 in a five-set match since Ashley Neff put up 14 against NC State on Oct 9, 2011. Neff tallied 12 blocks on the night.

"Twenty-eight blocks is amazing," Neff said. "Sarah (Burrington) has really stepped up and her confidence has really helped her and she's doing amazing right now and I think it's great that we have different players stepping up for us right now."

Also contributing double-digit blocks was freshman Izzy Carmona, who stood up 10 blocks.

Sophomore Nicole Walch led with 20 kills while Burrington put down 13, tying her season high. Nicole Walch's 20 kills marks her fifth 20-kill performance of the season.

Junior setter Sarah Wickstrom accounted for 27 assists and added five digs, while freshman setter Hailey Luke totaled 18 assists and three setter kills.

Redshirt junior libero Katie Mosher put up 17 digs. Freshman Leah Mikesky was responsible for 14 digs on the night.

The opening set saw 14 ties and seven lead changes before the Tar Heels took it 27-25. It was just the second time this season the Seminole fell behind 1-0.

Out of the gate, the Seminoles took a 14-8 lead over the Tar Heels early in the first set, but a kill by Jovana Bjelica sparked a 8-2 run for North Carolina, tying the score at 16.

Florida State fought back late in the first and had a pair of set points, however they could not put the Tar Heels away.

North Carolina came out hot in the second set, getting out to a 5-1 lead, but the Seminoles fought back keeping the set tight before a clever setting kill by Luke sparked a 3-0 run to give the Noles the edge, 12-9.

Carolina kept it close before knotting the score 18-18, but the Seminoles finished strong on a 7-3 run, winning the set 25-21.

With the set score even at one, Florida State owned the third set thanks to a 9-0 run to extend the edge 12-5. During the streak with Nicole Walch as the server, the Seminoles tallied four kills, three service aces and a pair of blocks. Carolina tried to get back into it, but the hole was too deep to overcome as the Noles took the 2-1 lead, 25-16.

Carolina took the lead from the start of the fourth set, leading by as many as six at 16-10 before the Seminoles closed the gap to 16-14. From there, the Seminoles lost their groove allowing the Tar Heels to take the set 25-17, forcing a decisive fifth.

In the fifth, Florida State jumped out to an 8-3 lead before the teams switched sides of the net. The Seminoles kept their foot on the gas, taking the match 3-2 and the set 15-8.

"We're at home," Neff said. "We had the crowd behind us and that was the difference. It gave us the kick that we needed in order to come back and get the match."

The Seminoles remain at Tully Gym for one more match on the weekend, slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. against NC State which will be streamed on ESPN3.com.

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).

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