WEST PALM BEACH, FL - Florida Southern College volleyball saw its season come to an end with a 3-0 loss to No. 16 Palm Beach Atlantic in the semifinal round of the NCAA South Regional on Friday night at Rubin Arena. The Moccasins (22-11) fell two wins shy of defending last year's South Region title, while the top-seeded Sailfish (29-4) advanced to the regional title match for the third time in the last four years.
Nicole Matton led the Mocs with 11 kills, but PBA held Florida Southern to just .065 on the attack and posted seven total blocks to secure a spot in Saturday's regional championship against Tampa, which defeated No. 2 seed, Barry, earlier in the day. The Moccasins ended the year with 20 or more wins for the seventh year in a row and advanced to their eighth-straight South Region semifinal appearance.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Palm Beach Atlantic set the tone early in the first set by jumping out to a 10-5 lead. Florida Southern was able to get back into it with a 6-1 run to tie the score at 11-11 but did not take the lead as the Sailfish used four-straight points just moments later to make it 18-13 and take all the momentum en route to a 25-15 first-set win.
- The Moccasins scored the first two points of the second set, but PBA rallied quickly to take a 5-3 lead and scored five in a row later on to push its advantage to 12-6. Florida Southern got within five on the next point but could get no closer as the Sailfish rolled to a 25-12 second-set win.
- Florida Southern got out to another 2-0 lead in the third set but the lead did not last long as Palm Beach Atlantic scored eight of the next 11 points to take an 8-5 lead. The Mocs got back within a single point (10-9) just moments later, but PBA kept its foot on the gas and closed out the set with two-straight points to win 25-17 and secure a spot in the South Region championship.
- Along with her 11 kills, Mattson also tallied eight digs. Buse Ene and Rachael Martin each had four kills, while Ene had a team-best 13 digs, and Bethany Besancenez finished with 18 assists. Maddie Span (14), Ally Rohn (10), and Amber Rowoldt (10) led a Sailfish offense that hit .307 on the night.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 31-35 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and 10-10 in the all-time series against Palm Beach Atlantic. This year's NCAA South Regional appearance marked the 32nd time in program history that the Mocs have played in the NCAA Tournament, the fourth-best mark among all current NCAA Division II programs.
- Mattson finished her career with 1,676 kills, good for fourth in school history. She also compiled 1,311 digs, ninth-most in program history. Besancenez tallied 5,285 career assists and 1,384 digs. She finishes her career second in school history in assists and seventh in digs.