LAKELAND, FL - Three different players tallied double-digit kill totals and Florida Southern College volleyball overcame a pesky Embry-Riddle squad to pick up a 3-2 victory on Friday at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (7-6, 2-3 SSC) extended their home winning streak to a whopping 22-straight matches and snapped a three-game skid in Sunshine State Conference play with the win over the Eagles (8-4, 2-3). Early on, it appeared the Mocs would roll to the win after taking the first two sets, but ERAU won sets three and four to force a winner-take-all fifth set.
Florida Southern was able to race out to a big early lead in the fifth and staved off a late rally by the Eagles to remain undefeated at home this season. Nicole Mattson led Southern with 25 kills, while Rachael Martin added 17 and Whitney Drost had 12. The Moccasins are back home on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Florida Tech.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Both teams went blow-for-blow in the early stages of the first set, but the Mocs were forced to call a timeout after the Eagles used a 4-0 run to turn an 11-10 deficit into a 14-11 lead. Florida Southern was able to battle back and tie things at 15-15 just moments later, and neither team was able to snag much of an advantage until the Mocs took a 23-20 lead in the late stages. ERAU made things interesting by pulling within one (23-22), but back-to-back kills by Mattson gave FSC a 25-22 first-set win.
- The second set was largely dominated by the Moccasins who raced out to an early 6-1 lead and went up by as many as nine points (23-14) before winning 25-17 to go up 2-0 in the match. Florida Southern held Embry-Riddle to just .163 on the attack in the second set.
- Facing a sweep, the Eagles were able to stay alive by winning the third set, 25-20. The set would be tight throughout as neither team had more than a five-point lead at any time. But ERAU led the entire way until Mattson tied things at 20-20 with a kill late in the set. However, the Eagles scored five-straight to close things out and force a fourth set.
- ERAU jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the fourth set, but the Moccasins rallied and tied things at 13-13 midway through. It looked as if Florida Southern had things wrapped up at 24-22 late in the fourth, but Embry-Riddle scored the next four points to skate by with a 26-24 win and send the match to a fifth set.
- In the final set, Florida Southern stormed out to a 6-1 advantage and was never really in trouble as they finished things off with a 15-10 fifth-set victory.
- The Moccasins hit .227 on the attack while holding the Eagles to just .188. Florida Southern had seven blocks to ERAU's five, and Mattson added 16 digs to go with her 25 kills. Drost hit an impressive .385 on the attack, and Gabby Fresh had a team-best 26 digs. Bethany Besancenez recorded 57 assists, and Buse Ene had 14 digs. Embry-Riddle was led by Erika Barbour's 21 kills, while McKenna James had 20 and Melanie Canfield added 13.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 8-1 all-time against Embry-Riddle, including a perfect 5-0 at home. The Moccasins have won 22-straight home matches dating back to Sept. 2, 2017, and have not dropped a home match in conference action since Oct. 28, 2016.
- Mattson's 25 kills marked her 11th double-digit kill performance of the season. She has recorded 10 or more kills in each of her last 10 appearances, and has eclipsed 20 kills seven times this season. She has recorded 1,868 career kills and needs just 23 more to move into fourth in school history in career kills.
- Besancenez posted her sixth 50-plus assist contest of the year. She has 4,505 career assists and needs 1,225 to set the school record for career assists.
- Florida Southern will host Florida Tech at 4 p.m. on Saturday for the second of four straight home contests. The Mocs host Palm Beach Atlantic (Sept. 28) and Nova Southeastern (Sept. 29) next week. Fans can catch all the action live at SunshineStateConference.TV