The Wake Forest Demon Deacons 10-3 (0-2) suffered two surprisingly lopsided losses this past weekend against Miami 6-4 (2-0) and No. 23 Florida State 8-3 (2-0) to begin ACC play. The losses came on the heels of a hot start that saw the Demon Deacons win 10 of their first 11 games. Wake Forest lost as many sets in their first 11 games as they did this past weekend, as they lost both matches by 0-3.
Wake Forest played its ACC opener against a Miami squad fresh off two straight wins against in-state rivals Florida Atlantic University and University of Central Florida. The Hurricanes proceeded to play their best match of the season, overwhelming the Demon Deacons en route to a 25-17, 25-21, 25-21 victory.
Wake Forest matched Miami at the outset, as the teams were tied at seven early in the first set. Then, junior middle blocker Madison Dill recorded a kill and two service aces to begin a 14-4 Miami run that ultimately secured the first game 25-17. The Deacons played sloppily in the first set, recording eight errors against 12 kills.
Wake Forest tightened their play in the second set by posting a 29.6 hitting percentage and playing Miami to a tie at 15-15. The Hurricanes went on a 5-1 run, spearheaded by two kills from freshman outside hitter Kennedy Price to pull ahead, and eventually closed out the second set 25-21.
The Demon Deacons fell apart in the third set, committing nine errors and managing only four kills. The Hurricanes helped make things interesting with a match-high seven errors of their own. Wake Forest managed to pull the game even at 20-20 after trailing 19-15, but a kill and an ace from Dill along with three Wake Forest errors gave the Hurricanes a 25-21 victory and the match.
Three players led a balanced attack for Miami with 10 kills apiece, and Dill led all players with four service aces. Senior middle blocker Caitlyn Della led the Demon Deacons with nine kills in the losing effort.
Wake Forest then played No. 23 Florida State on Sunday, with similar results. The Seminoles were also coming off two big wins of their own against Alabama and Duke, and they continued their momentum by rolling right through the Deacons on their way to a 25-19, 25-20, 25-17.
The story was mostly the same in this one for Wake Forest, as they hung tough in all three games. They were down 18-16 in the first set, 16-12 in the second and 17-14, but big runs from the Seminoles in each game ultimately decided the fate of the match.
Florida State hit 24.7% for the match, recording 38 kills against 14 errors while Wake Forest posted 35 kills against 17 errors for an 18% hit rate. Junior outside hitter Payton Caffrey led the Seminoles with 13 kills, and freshman outside hitter Peyton Suess had another great outing with 16 kills and three blocks for Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons will continue ACC play this weekend, as they travel up north to play Syracuse on Friday at 7 p.m. and Boston College on Sunday at 1 p.m.