MELBOURNE, FL - Florida Southern College volleyball rallied from a 2-1 deficit to force a fifth set, but was unable to complete the comeback in a 3-2 loss at Sunshine State Conference rival Florida Tech on Friday night at the Clemente Center. The Moccasins (17-9, 9-6 SSC) saw their win streak end at four in a row while the Panthers (9-17, 4-11) won their third-straight contest.
Four different players tallied at least 10 kills for Florida Southern, but Florida Tech countered with a pair of 20-kill performances to earn a split in the season series with the Mocs. Southern will wrap up the weekend with a match at Embry-Riddle on Saturday.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Panthers got out to a 3-0 start in the first set, but Florida Southern was able to string together four points in a row later in the set to take a 10-6 advantage. After Florida Tech was able to tie things at 12-12 just moments later, the teams would battle back and forth for the remainder of the set. Leading 24-22 with a chance to close things out, the Panthers committed an attack error that gave the Moccasins new life, and Southern staved off defeat three more times before Florida Tech finally scored two in a row to take a 28-26 first-set victory.
- Trailing 6-5 early in the second set, Florida Southern stole all the momentum by reeling off eight-straight points to take a 13-6 lead. The scoring run, which came with Buse Ene at the service line, included three kills from Rachael Martin. The Panthers were able to slowly claw their way back into contention by tying things at 20-20 in the late stages, but it would not be enough as the Mocs held on for a 25-21 second-set win to tie things at 1-1.
- The Mocs were able to build a 10-8 lead early in the third, but the advantage was quickly erased when Florida Tech scored four in a row to gain a two-point edge. Florida Southern was never really able to recover after the Panther scoring run as Florida Tech took a 25-18 victory in set number three. The Panthers hit a blistering .400 in the third set, their best attack percentage of any set on the night.
- Florida Southern stayed alive by taking a 25-21 victory in the fourth set. The Moccasins jumped out to an early lead and never trailed in the set. A 3-0 run in the latter stages of the set broke an 18-18 tie and gave the Mocs a 21-18 lead. Southern would use a block from the duo of Martin and Whitney Drost to score the final point and help the Moccasins force a decisive fifth set.
- The Moccasins scored first in the fifth set but Florida Tech put up a quick two points to take the lead. The Panthers seemed to be in control when they went in front 7-4, but Florida Southern scored three in a row to tie things up. After Florida Tech scored its eighth point of the set and the teams switched sides, the Panthers struck for four more to cap off a 5-0 run and take a 12-7 lead. It would be all the momentum they would need to carry them to a 15-10 third set win and a 3-2 match victory.
- Nicole Mattson led the Mocs with 22 kills, while Martin added 17. Tiera Porter tallied 11 kills and Ene came away with 10. Mattson also tallied 19 digs, while Gabby Fresh had a team-best 23. Florida Tech countered with 23 kills from Kelly Germain and 22 from Olivia Hersey. Hersey hit an incredible .529 on the attack and had four blocks. The Panthers outhit the Mocs .305 to .287 on the attack and finished with eight service aces.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 67-8 all-time against Florida Tech, including a 29-7 mark when facing the Panthers on the road. The loss snapped a five-match winning streak against Florida Tech, and marked just the third time in the last 10 years that the Panthers have defeated the Mocs.
- Mattson upped her career kill total to 1,562 and needs 55 more to move into fourth in school history. Bethany Besancenez upped her career assists total to 4,996. She is setto become just the second player in school history with 5,000 career assists. She also has recorded 1,294 digs, good for ninth in program history. She is 30 digs shy of moving into eighth in program history.
- The Moccasins wrap up the weekend at Embry-Riddle on Saturday, and finish out their regular-season road slate with contests at Nova Southeastern (Nov. 2) and Palm Beach Atlantic (Nov. 3). Florida Southern closes out the regular season against Rollins (Nov. 9) and Tampa (Nov. 10).