The Florida State women's volleyball team finished the season with two wins to bring their record to 19-9, with an impressive 15-3 mark in the ACC. Not only did they finish second in the conference standings, but they also had players bring some individual awards home to Tallahassee. They begin their postseason with a huge in-state match against the Florida Gators (24-6, 15-3 SEC) in Orlando.
This is the tenth-straight season the FSU Seminoles will make a postseason appearance, and the program's 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, FSU lost in four sets to Washington State in their tournament opener.
After beginning the season with losses in four of the first five matches, the 'Noles went on a roll, and they've been even better since opening their conference schedule. Their only losses in ACC play were against Pittsburgh and Miami (FL). Two losses to Pittsburgh aren't bad considering the Panthers only lost once all season. Miami wasn't as good, finishing with a 13-12 record.
Florida State was led by a group of great players all season, but none better than Payton Caffrey.
The junior outside hitter was named the ACC Player of the Year in 2018, and she is the third player in the program to win the award, the last being Ashley Neff in 2012.
Caffery was consistently the best player in Tully Gym this season, and her numbers prove that point. She led the conference in many areas, but none more important than her 521.5 points, over 50 points more than the second place finisher. She also had 462 kills, 37 more than anyone else. This is her third All-Conference award, which includes two First-Team All-Big 12 honors that came during her time at West Virginia.
Caffrey wasn't the only Seminole to receive recognition, though. Sophomore middle blocker Taryn Knuth and senior Libero Kelsey Wicinski were also named to All-ACC teams.
Knuth was nothing short of dominant around the net in her second season wearing the garnet and gold. Last season, Knuth was the ACC Freshman of the Year, but she stepped up her game in her sophomore campaign by leading the ACC in all blocking categories (solo, assisted, total, and blocks per set).
She isn't just impressive at the conference ranks, but nationally as well. Her 185 total blocks ranks second in the nation and 1.75 blocks per set ranks third in the nation.
Wicinski had a stellar year also, probably her best at the collegiate level. During her time at Maryland, she never received any postseason awards, so this was the first in her final collegiate season. She was the leader in the back row for the Seminoles -- Her 467 digs were by far the most on the team, over double that of Brianne Burkert, who was second with 201.
Wicinski finished the season with the fourth most digs in the conference and third most digs per set with 4.41.
Burkert may not have received any postseason awards in her senior season, but the setter was extremely important to the team's success. She led the 'Noles with 641 assists and 6.05 assists per set.
This all leads to their first-round matchup with the Florida Gators. This will be the second time these teams will play this season. In their September 12th match, the Gators took three of four sets. After that loss and a loss to Auburn, Florida State's season completely changed, and the second time around should be a highly-contested rivalry match.
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