Oct. 20, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Behind a powerful front line that blocked 12 Irish attack attempts including nine in the first set, No. 19 Florida State took down the University of Notre Dame volleyball team, 3-0 (25-8, 25-23, 25-13), Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion in the Block Out Cancer match.
With a season-high 1,655 fans in attendance, the Irish had trouble with Florida State’s tall and powerful roster, which features nine players that are 6-0 or taller, for much of the day as they hit only .042 and had 12 of their attacks blocked. The Seminoles, meanwhile, hit .379 for the match as they pounded home 47 kills with just 11 errors in 95 attempts.
Sisters Nicole and Elise Walch paced the Seminole attack with 12 kills each. Nicole hit .375 and added nine digs and four blocks, while Elise hit .556. Elsewhere, right-side hitter Izzy Carmona had 10 kills and four blocks, outside hitter Olivera Medic played strong back-row defense with a match-high 13 digs. Middle Blocker Ashley Neff led the team with seven blocks.
“We are continuing to learn that it’s a battle every night in the ACC,” said head coach Debbie Brown. “We knew Florida State was a great team and we knew its strengths. It was one of those matches where we didn’t control the ball on our side of the net really well.
“I think we take away from this weekend that we can compete with any team in the conference and I firmly believe that. It’s a matter of coming out and doing it every night.”
The Irish (8-11, 2-6 ACC) hit the road to the Commonwealth of Virginia next weekend to meet Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. Friday and the University of Virginia at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Florida State came out and blitzed the Irish in set one as they racked up nine blocks, including seven during a back-breaking 10-0 run that took a 5-3 lead and turned it into a 15-3 advantage. Notre Dame hit -.276 during the frame as they had just six kills in 29 chances with 14 kills. FSU had an efficient 10 kills in 22 opportunities and totaled just one error.
“They are a very good blocking team, but part of what we were doing wrong was just not hitting the right shots,” said Brown. “We would hit low on blocks or right into the blocks instead of away from it. I can’t say it was all us. They obviously made some very good moves and certainly set the tone early, but to be blocked nine times in one set is a little crazy. It just didn’t allow us to get into any rhythm at all.”
To Notre Dame’s credit, it put the first set in the rear-view mirror and came out in the second frame sharp. They went toe-to-toe with the Seminoles in a frame that saw 10 ties and six lead changes. The Irish held three point leads or more at 7-3, 16-13 and 21-16, but stumbled in the later parts of the set to fall into a 2-0 hole. FSU ran off five consecutive points to tie the score at 21, and later closed out a 23-23 frame with kills from E. Walch and Medic.
“We got a little tight at the end of the set,” said Brown. “We were up 21-17 and certainly you should be able to finish that set off. We had a couple of errors and then got tight and didn’t make plays down the stretch. That’s probably the most disappointing part of the match. It’s totally different going into break 1-1. Having the lead most of the set and then having it slip away is tough.”
FSU closed out the match with a 25-13 win in set three. The Seminoles hit a remarkable .513 for the set, totaling 21 kills and just one error. All three ties and the one lead change occurred in the first six points.
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director