There was a gale force outside on Wednesday night, but inside the Knight Sports Complex, the Hurricanes volleyball team was not as mighty as Florida State.
The No. 22 Seminoles beat the Canes in four sets (25-16, 25-23, 21-25, 25-13) in front of a near capacity crowd. Miami’s leading offensive force, Savanah Leaf, recorded 16 kills, and Misty Ma’a added 10 of her own.
Florida State carried a more balanced offensive attack: Nicole Walch posted 16 kills, Elise Walch had 10, Izzy Carmona notched nine, plus eight for Sarah Burrington.
The Noles commanded the first set, winning easily, but the Canes appeared ready to head into the break with momentum of their own.
Miami took an 18-9 lead in the second set.
Just as quickly as the Canes jumped out to a lead, though, it fizzled away. Miami suffered four errors in six sequences during that second set, while FSU turned the tables and won by two points.
“I think that’s a good team. We got them in trouble, and they’re good – they get out of trouble. But we got them in trouble and that’s the first step,” said Miami coach Jose Gandara, pulling positives out of the loss. “I like the way we did that. We didn’t capitalize on those opportunities. I sure liked us in game three and also game two. We just have to learn how to play like that as much as we can. That’s a good team and they deserved it better.”
Miami battled back and forth, ultimately winning the third set, but FSU cranked the energy up and dominated the fourth and final set.
It ended with a 6-0 run. Middle blocker Ashley Neff delivered the final blow, helping the Seminoles improve to 19-7.
The Canes, conversely, dropped their third straight match. Miami is now 15-10.
The Hurricanes have struggled as of late, having won just two of their past nine.
“It was mostly about [that] we didn’t kill the ball enough in game two, we killed the ball in game three, and game four we didn’t kill the ball, so a little credit to their block but also our shot selection [was off] a little bit,” Gandara said.
One of FSU’s big advantages was their height. At one point, two 6-foot-5 Noles, Burrington and Elise Walch, played up front at the net.
Miami could not compete with such a large defensive wall. The tallest Hurricane starters are Ma’a and Alexis Mourning at 6-foot-1.
Good news for Hurricanes volleyball fans: The team has all home matches from here on out.
Friday’s matchup against Notre Dame gives Miami a chance to get back on track and exact revenge.
The Fighting Irish won a home match against Miami in mid-October.
vs. Notre Dame at 7 p.m.
vs. Duke at 7 p.m.
vs. Wake Forest at 1 p.m.
vs. Georgia Tech at 7 p.m.
vs. Clemson at 7 p.m.