Sept. 28, 2013
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (seminoles.com) - Another impressive offensive showing by sisters Nicole and Elise Walch helped the 17th-ranked Florida State indoor volleyball team earn a 3-1 (19-25, 25-16, 25-13, 25-13) win at Syracuse in its ACC-opening match on Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome.
After falling behind with a first-set loss, the Seminoles (8-4, 1-0) got big-hitting performances from the Walch sisters to help them rebound and win the match easily in the last three sets. Nicole Walch finished with a match-high 17 kills and added 12 digs for her second double-double of the season. Her 17 kills is her fourth-highest this season and the sixth-most by a Seminole this year.
Senior Elise Walch recorded 15 kills and a .324 hitting percentage, committing just three errors in 37 swings. Florida State setters Sarah Wickstrom and Hailey Luke combined for 51 assists, with Wickstrom helping redshirt freshman Sarah Burrington to a nine-kill effort. Wickstrom also had 12 digs for her fourth double-double of the season, tying Olivera Medic for the team lead.
"The first set we came out flat and Syracuse came out ready to play," head coach Chris Poole said. "We shored things up in the second set and once we established ourselves and got a rhythm and maintained out intensity we played much better. It's something we want to continue working on in being able to come out strong.
"Sarah Burrington has gained a lot of confidence as the season goes on. I thought Mara (Green) had a good game, Leah (Mikesky) did very well. We've seen the last couple of weeks that Leah is getting better and better."
Redshirt junior libero Katie Mosher had one of her finest matches of the season, having a season-high 24 digs. Medic added 16 digs and recorded nine kills in the match. Redshirt freshman Leah Mikesky produced a strong offensive showing, recording six kills and a .400 hitting percentage.
Florida State finished the match with a .273 hitting percentage while holding Syracuse to a .165 clip despite the Orange's hot start in the first set. Limiting mistakes was another key for FSU, which generated just one service error.
FSU now improves to 4-2 in ACC openers under Poole as well as 19-4 on the road in conference play since 2011.
Florida State got off to a slow start in the match, losing the first set 25-19. Syracuse came out aggressive and enjoyed an efficient set with a .500 hitting percentage. Silvi Uattara registered five kills for the Orange, while Nicolette Serratore added three kills. FSU's Nicole Walch led Florida State with four kills, while Mosher tried to help out in the back row with five digs.
An important 6-0 run that elevated Florida State's lead to 18-9 in the second set helped the Seminoles tie the match at 1-1. Florida State's blocking game picked up in the second frame, and a kill by Medic finished off the Orange 25-16. Nicole Walch led the `Noles going into the intermission with 10 kills, while FSU leveled the hitting percentage differential with Syracuse holding a .294-.260 edge.
Florida State dominated the third set, using more momentum-gaining runs to break away from the Orange. FSU had another 6-0 run in the set, turning a 17-11 lead into a 23-11 advantage on kills from Elise Walch and Burrington. An attack error by Syracuse's Valeriya Shaipova finished the frame to put FSU up 2-1 overall. Florida State would do much of the same in the fourth set, using 17 kills to finish off the Orange.
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).