VOLLEYBALL: BC Downed By Florida State
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Looking to tally its third straight conference victory, the Boston College volleyball team faced off against No. 12 Florida State on Friday night in a heated matchup of ACC rivals.
Head coach Chris Campbell’s vastly improved BC squad came into the night with one more win on its record than it compiled during the entire 2011 season. Yet despite a valiant effort and an energetic crowd of Superfans at Power Gym, the Eagles fell in three sets (25-20, 25-15, 25-19) to the first-place Seminoles.
“I was really proud of the way our team came out,” Campbell remarked after the game. “We battled hard, we really competed … a team like this doesn’t give you that many easy opportunities, but when it happens you really have to capitalize on them, and we didn’t do that quite often enough.”
Both teams came storming out of the gate in the first set, matching each other point for point. The Eagles’ hustle on defense and solid ball movement—bolstered by 11 assists from sophomore Kellie Barnum—enabled them to take a 9-8 lead on FSU. Although the Seminoles would fire back by winning nine out of the next 13 points to force a BC timeout, Campbell’s Eagles came storming back to cut FSU’s lead to three at 23-20 thanks to a six-kill performance from freshman standout Katty Workman. However, Seminole Ashley Neff’s four blocks solidified FSU’s advantageous presence at the net, preventing BC from inching any closer and clinching a 25-20 win.
“[FSU] is a very solid team,” Campbell said. “They’re very tall, they have a great block, and there were times when I felt we were forcing them into situations we wanted them to be in. We just didn’t quite do it enough.”
After a closely contested first set, BC appeared poised to push FSU to the brink and push its foe’s endurance to the limit. The second set, however, proved to be a turning point in the Seminole’s favor. FSU jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, showing off the cohesive ball movement and solid defense that has head coach Chris Poole’s squad entrenched atop the conference.
Winning nine out of the set’s first 12 points, the Seminoles outlasted the Eagles on volleys and out-killed BC by a margin of 14-10. The Eagles kept chipping away, thanks to seven assists from junior Cagla Sen and five of a game-high 17 kills from Workman, but a 12-4 FSU run was the difference in the visiting team’s 10-point win. Campbell acknowledged that the second set was a major obstacle blocking the Eagles’ pursuit of a potential upset.
“It’s always tough to play from behind in the score,” he said. “[If] the score’s closer within one or two points, then you’ve got some freedom to be a bit risky on things, to take a few chances, but once you’re down big it or behind in the score, it’s a little more difficult to take some chances. [FSU] started out with a 4-0 run right off the top, and all of a sudden you’re down four points—now you become very predictable and because of that, they become even a little bit better.”
The Eagles would not go down without a fight, however. as Campbell’s squad notched four of the third set’s first five points and came out energized after a disappointing second frame. A few timely blocks from BC captain Krystle Higgins later in the set kept her team’s slim 13-12 advantage intact. Yet the captain’s effort and 12 assists from Barnum, who had a match-high 25 on the night, were not enough to halt a complete team effort from FSU. When the dust finally settled, the Seminoles came out on top with a 25-19 set victory.
While Campbell and the Eagles had high hopes for an ACC upset, their perseverant performance against one of the country’s best teams will boost momentum heading into the 2012 season’s stretch run.
“I’m glad we competed,” Campbell said. “I’m glad we pushed them a little bit, but for us it becomes a great lesson to work on in practice.”