The Wake Forest Demon Deacons 5-9 (0-2) began ACC play in underwhelming fashion this past week with two losses, continuing their struggles away from Reynolds Gymnasium this season. The Deacs fell to 0-4 away from home and have now lost three matches in a row after a scorching 5 match win streak, which followed a six game losing streak.
Wake’s first match came against the Miami Hurricanes, who entered Friday’s match riding a two-match win streak after sweeping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas Southern. Miami subsequently won 25-17, 25-18 and 25-14.
The Deacons began slowly, posting six kills in 28 attempts with six errors. The Deacs found their groove in the second set with 12 kills and three errors for a match-high 36.0% attack percentage. Miami was able to top Wake with 12 kills against only two errors in the second set. Finally, Wake was outhit by one in the third set to end the match.
Wake’s hit percentage for the match sat at 21.3%, while the Canes came in at 34.1%. Middle blockers Caitlyn Della and Olivia Saunders led the way for Wake Forest with eight kills apiece, while setter Madeline Holy posted 23 assists and Libero Hailey McFadden recorded a team-high eight digs.
Three members of Miami’s squad had double-digit kills. Additionally, Miami, the current ACC leader in average aces served per set at 1.71, served up 14 aces, most of any Wake opponent this season.
Wake Forest then played Florida State 6-6 (2-0) on Sunday, and lost three sets to none. Florida State had come off losses to Florida and Auburn, but was led by Junior Peyton Caffrey and Sophomore Taryn Knuth, who prior to the match had led the ACC in kills and blocks, respectively.
The Deacons posted a 17.6% hitting percentage in the first set, but the Noles gained the upper hand by tallying 15 kills on 27 attempts against just three errors for a 44.4% hitting percentage. Florida State maintained their momentum in the second set by limiting the Deacs to seven kills against eight errors. Down two sets, the Deacs raced out of the gates and took a demanding 6-1 lead. The Seminoles responded by winning 8 of ten points to take a 9-8 lead. The teams then traded points until Florida State recorded back-to-back kills to take the deciding set 28-26.
Caffrey led the way for the Seminoles, posing 18 kills with no errors. For the Deacs, Sophomore outside hitter and team leader in kills Myca Mitchell continued an impressive season by posting her eighth match with double-digit kills. She finished with 10, while middle blockers Saunders and Caroline Kuhn added six kills each.
After facing two tough opponents, the Deacs will look to get back on track in conference play in the ultra-competitive ACC at home against Syracuse 6-4 (2-0) on Friday at 6:30 p.m. before welcoming Boston College 12-2 (2-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. As of this printing, 12 of the 15 ACC teams have won 50% or more of their games, led by nationally ranked #8 Pittsburgh 13-0 (2-0).