WINTER PARK - Florida Southern Volleyball began its stretch of five matches in eight days here Friday evening by using a solid offensive effort en route to posting a three-set victory over Rollins (25-18, 25-21, 25-15) in Sunshine State Conference play at Warden Arena.
Friday’s match was the first of three straight this weekend for the Moccasins as they travel to Melbourne for a 4 p.m. match Saturday at Florida Tech, before returning home to host Lincoln Memorial in a 2 p.m. non-conference match on Sunday. After Sunday’s match, the Mocs play Tuesday at Saint Leo, before finishing the stretch at home next Friday against Nova Southeastern.
“It was another typical night in SSC play. I thought we were really sharp and focused tonight,” Mocs head coach Jill Stephens said.
With the victory, FSC improves to 12-5 overall and moves to 4-1 in the SSC, while Rollins fell to 8-8 overall and 2-3 in the league.
In Friday’s match, the Mocs hit .296 as a team, which is its fourth highest hitting percentage of the season and they had six players record at least five kills in the match.
“I was really pleased with the way we played offensively as we were able to limit our errors and that was a key in the victory,” said Stephens, who improved to 262-129 at the helm of her alma mater.
Leading the way for the Mocs offensively was sophomore outside hitter Kate Stromberg (Lexington, Kent.) as she recorded a match-high 15 kills and hit a season-best .417. Stromberg and senior outside hitter Anne Pietkiewicz (Winter Park, Fla.) combined to record 12 of FSC’s 20 kills in the third and deciding set as Stromberg had five and Pietkiewicz, who was playing in her hometown, had seven in the set.
Along with Stromberg, Pietkiewicz finished with 10 kills and 13 digs for her sixth double-double of the season, while sophomore right side hitter Gabby Fernandez (Tampa, Fla.) added nine kills and six digs in the win.
“Anne really is playing with a lot of confidence and is making a lot of plays for us,” said Stephens. “I also was pleased with the way Kate bounced back after last weekend.”
Defensively, the Mocs outdug the Tars, 72-69 as freshman libero Arielle Fernandez (Pacifica, Calif.) led the way with a match-high 21 digs, while junior setter Ali Skayhan (Beaverton, Ore.) added 18 digs and 33 assists for her team-leading 11th double-double.
“I thought Ali did a great job running our offense tonight. She set the hitters up in good spots for them to make plays,” the Mocs coach added.
In the first set, the Mocs jumped in front 7-2 in the first set, before Rollins used a 9-5 run to pull within 12-11 following a kill by Kelly Merideth. After the Tars run, the Mocs responded with four straight points to take a 16-11 advantage. Rollins would get within 21-17, before the Mocs scored four of the set’s final five points, including ending the set with a kill by Gabby Fernandez to post a 25-18 win.
Unlike the first set, the second set was a back-and-forth affair as neither team was able to muster a lead of more than two points until the Mocs used a 5-2 scoring run to turn an 11-11 tie into an 18-13 lead. The Tars responded with a 7-4 run to pull within 22-20, before the Mocs closed out the set scoring three of the final four points to earn the 25-21 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, the Mocs jumped out to a 4-0 lead, before Rollins scored six of the next eight points to tie the set at 6. The Mocs, though, responded with a 7-3 run to take a 13-9 lead following a kill by Pietkiewicz. After kill from Collyn Welsch dropped the Mocs lead to 13-10, FSC would close out the set on a 12-5 run, including a kill by Pietkiewicz to seal the win and extend its win streak to two straight.
Rollins was led by Camille Indest, who finished with 14 kills and hit .310 in the loss. In addition to Indest, Merideth added six kills and 11 digs in the match and Welsch finished with a team-high 19 digs.