Cavaliers Earn Historic Win, Upset No. 25 Florida State, 3-2
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team earned its second-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent Sunday afternoon, defeating No. 25 Florida State, 3-2 (25-18, 25-13, 18-25, 19-25, 16-14), in Memorial Gymnasium. The win marks head coach Lee Maes’ first over a nationally ranked opponent, while it’s the first time Virginia has downed a top-25 foe since defeating No. 22 Georgia Tech in four sets at home on Oct. 5, 1996.
“We take the same approach in preparation for every opponent whether they’re ranked or not,” Maes said. “This was a great win for us because we have been improving throughout the season. In this win, we are seeing the fruits of our efforts, focus and commitment. We have a lot of belief in ourselves and we love that our team has positively and appropriately responded to the setbacks that we had earlier in the year.”
With the win, the Cavaliers split this season’s meetings with the Seminoles, as then-No. 13 Florida State defeated Virginia, 3-0, in Tallahassee on Sept. 24. It also improves Virginia to 12-11 this year and 6-7 in the ACC, while Florida State drops to 15-8 overall and 7-6 in league play.
With the set tied at 14 all in the deciding frame, the Cavaliers received back-to-back kills from junior Simone Asque and freshman McKenzie Adams to clinch their first win over Florida State since 2007, and 14th victory of the 43 meetings in the all-time series.
Four Cavaliers tallied double-figure kills on the afternoon – a first for the Cavaliers since the 2008 season. Led by Asque’s 20 kills, sophomore Jess O’Shoney hit a match-high .650 and knocked down 14 kills, while Adams added 13 kills and freshman Emily Rottman tacked on 10 kills.
Rottman, who landed four aces, also had 19 digs to notch her fourth career double-double, and second consecutive, while redshirt sophomore Beth Wildermuth shared team-high honors in digs, also earning 19. In addition, the setter dished out 49 assists to record her fifth double-double of the season.
Other team leaders included senior AJ Cushman, who tallied 18 digs, and junior Tess Udall who collected a career-high eight digs. Offensively, senior Sydney Hill had eight kills, hit .467 and contributed three blocks.
For Florida State, Visnja Djurdjevic led the way with 20 kills and 22 digs, while Stephanie Neville had 17 kills and Fatma Yildirim added 12. Duygu Duzceler dished out 31 assists and had 10 digs, while Jenna Romanelli had a match-high 27 digs. Ashley Neff led the charge at the net, blocking a match-high nine attacks.
The Cavaliers got out to a commanding 1-0 lead in the match following a hot start in the first frame. Jumping out to an 11-7 advantage, Virginia didn’t look back. Never trailing in the set, the Cavaliers worked their lead to eight, at 22-14, en route to a 25-18 set win.
Virginia carried the momentum into the second stanza and built a 7-0 cushion before the Seminoles were able to get on the board. Florida State cut its deficit to two, at 10-8, but Cushman landed a service ace to spark a 9-0 run for Virginia that put UVa up, 19-8. From there, the Cavaliers cruised to a 25-13 victory.
Florida State used a 4-0 run midway through the third frame to take its first lead of the match, at 16-14. Another 4-0 run by the Seminoles gave Florida State a 20-15 advantage and the Cavaliers were unable to recover, as the visitors went on to win, 25-18.
The Seminoles broke open an even 15-15 fourth set with a 3-0 run, pushing them ahead, 18-15. Florida State then took five of the next seven points to pull away 23-17, and evened the match at 2-2 with a 25-19 victory.
The fifth frame was a close battle throughout. Featuring seven tie scores and two lead changes, the stanza was knotted for the sixth time at 13 before Hill gave Virginia its first set-point opportunity, knocking down a kill. The Seminoles rallied behind a kill from Neville to force extra points, but Asque and Adams came up with the back-to-back points Virginia needed to secure the 16-14 win.
Virginia will return to Memorial Gymnasium next weekend to host its final home matches of the season. The Cavaliers will face Maryland on Friday, before taking on Boston College Saturday. Both contests are slated to begin at 7 p.m., with Virginia’s seniors being honored prior to the start of the Boston College match.