Noles Down Georgia Tech for Eighth Sweep of Season
Tallahassee, Fla. – Led by Nicole Walch, Sarah Burrington and Katie Horton, the 17th-ranked Florida State volleyball team remained unbeaten in ACC play as it completed a 25-22, 25-20 and 25-13 sweep of Georgia Tech on Sunday.
The victory, Florida State’s eighth by virtue of a sweep this season, also extended the homecourt winning streak at Tully Gymnasium to 39 matches with the Noles (11-4, 4-0 ACC) playing their next four matches on the road in state of North Carolina.
Walch led the way for the Noles by posting 14 kills and an impressive .542 attack percentage. The duo of Burrington and Horton, who tallied eight kills apiece, along with Hailey Luke (26 assists) guided FSU to 47 team kills and a .313 attack percentage.
Defensively, the Noles were highlighted on the front row by performances from Melanie Keil (eight assisted blocks) and Walch (four). Teammate Cecilie Woie supported the effort with 13 digs from the back row.
"We appreciate the fans that came out to support our program this weekend," said head coach Chris Poole. "It means a lot to the players to have great fan support and Tully Gym has become a great place to play a volleyball match.
"We weren't perfect this weekend but we are making great strides," added Poole. "The girls are working hard and there is an attention to detail that will make a difference as the season progresses."
Annika Van Gunst and Lauren Pitz led Georgia Tech with eight and six kills, respectively. Overall the Yellow Jackets’ offensive attack struggled throughout the match, finishing with 21 errors en route to a .077 hitting percentage. Defensively, Georgia Tech (11-5, 2-2 ACC) was guided by London Ackermann (13 digs) and Teegan Van Gunst (10).
Four service aces, including two by Woie, coupled with multiple kills by Walch, Burrington and Mara Green allowed Florida State to establish a 20-7 advantage in the third set. The Seminoles forced Georgia Tech into committing five errors during the run, as they moved within five of their third sweep in ACC action.
Walch reached 1,200 career kills among her four strikes in the third set as she sits just outside the school’s top 10 career kill list with 1,201. Teammate Christina Ambrose helped Florida State close out the third set victory with four kills in the final 10 points as the team posted a .361 attack percentage with 15 kills and two miscues in the decisive set.
Horton proved to be the difference early in the second set for Florida State as she tallied four points in serve along and added a kill to provide an 8-2 lead. Georgia Tech retaliated by scoring nine of the next 15 points, including two kills from Pitz, to make for a three-point affair.
Three FSU kills among the next six points, including strikes by Karlie Hauer and Burrington, stretched the lead to seven, 20-13. Additional kills by Horton and Melanie Keil kept the Seminoles offense clicking on all cylinders as they moved within one point of the win. After six unanswered points by the Yellow Jackets, which included three FSU unforced errors, Horton capped off the Seminoles win with a kill.
A series of kills by Keil and Milica Kubura, along with two unforced errors by Georgia Tech, allowed Florida State to establish an early four-point advantage in the first set. The lead grew to 15-10, behind kills by Walch and Sarah Burrington, forcing a Yellow Jacket timeout.
Georgia Tech responded with an 8-4 run, capitalizing on a Pitz kill and three unforced Seminole errors, to make for a 19-18 contest. But it was kills down the stretch by Horton and Walch that proved to be the difference in the three-point victory for FSU.
Florida State begins a four-match road stretch on Friday, Oct. 9 at Duke. That is quickly followed by a meeting with Wake Forest next Sunday. The Noles complete their tour of the Tar Heel state with visits to North Carolina (Oct. 16) and NC State (Oct. 18) before returning home to face Syracuse on Oct. 23. For more information visit Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.