FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - Florida Southern College volleyball clinched its eighth Sunshine State Conference championship with a 3-0 win over Nova Southeastern on Friday evening at Rick Case Arena. The No. 22 Moccasins (24-6, 18-1 SSC) picked up their 17th win in a row and finished off the season sweep of the Sharks (6-20, 4-15) to win their first conference title since 2006, and the programs first outright SSC championship since 1990.
The victory ties the 2017 Moccasins with the 1993 squad for the longest winning streak since 1990, when Florida Southern won a school-record 33 matches in a row. The win also likely ensures that Florida Southern will host the NCAA South Regional for the first time in nearly 30 years.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern scored the first three points of the opening set en route to a commanding 10-3 lead in the early stages. Nova Southeastern would get no closer than six points the rest of the way as the Moccasins dominated en route to a 25-13 first-set win. The Mocs hit an incredible .704 on the attack in the first set, committing no errors on 24 attempts while putting down 17 kills.
• In the second set, the Sharks would jump on top early and looked as if they might steal a set as they led 17-11 late in the second. However, the Moccasins used a 5-0 run to force an NSU timeout and slice the deficit to just one (17-16). After NSU went up 21-20 just moments later, Florida Southern stole back momentum with four-straight points before sealing a 25-22 second-set win on a kill by Nicole Mattson.
• The third and final set of the night once again saw Nova Southeastern take an early advantage (7-6), but the lead was wiped away when the Mocs struck for four points in a row to take a 10-7 lead and never trailed again. Mattson would clinch the SSC title with the final point of the night to give Florida Southern a 25-18 third-set win.
• Florida Southern hit .465 on the night and committed just five attack errors in 99 total attempts. Anna Tovo led the way with 20 kills while Mattson finished with 18 and Sydney Marshall added seven. Bethany Besancenez tallied 42 assists and added 13 digs, while Allie Geary led the Moccasins with three total blocks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern's victory was its 17th in a row, tying the 1993 squad for the most consecutive victories since Florida Southern won 33-straight in 1990. The Mocs improved to 27-6 all-time against Nova Southeastern.
• Besancenez pushed her career assist total to 3,638. She currently ranks sixth in school history and needs 177 more to move into fifth place. Tovo increased her career kill total to 1,516 to take sole possession of fourth place in the FSC record books. She needs 175 more to tie head coach Jill Stephens for third in school history. Allie Geary increased her career block total to 362 and needs three more to move into eighth place in school history.
• Florida Southern wraps up the regular-season at Barry on Saturday at 4 p.m. and will find out Monday whether or not it will host the NCAA South Regional.