Moccasins Fall in Four Sets At Rollins, Play At No. 2 Tampa Saturday
WINTER PARK - Florida Southern's late season struggles continued here Friday evening as the Moccasins dropped a hard-fought four set match to Rollins (22-25, 25-16, 20-25, 20-25) in Sunshine State Conference action at Warden Arena on the Rollins campus.
The loss dropped the Mocs record to 19-12 overall and 8-5 in the SSC, while Rollins improved to 21-8 overall and 8-6 in the league. In addition, the loss was FSC's fourth straight overall and third straight in SSC play.
In Friday's match, the Mocs outhit the Tars, .170 to .158 and committed eight less attack errors (26-18), but committed eight service errors and hit under .125 in two of the four sets.
One area where FSC excelled at on Friday was digs as they collected a season-high 110 digs, which is the third-most ever recorded by the Mocs in match in school history. It was the second this season the Mocs recorded over 100 digs in a match as they had 107 in its four-set home win over Florida Tech on Oct. 11.
The Mocs were paced once again by junior outside hitter Kate Stromberg (Lexington, Ky.) as he recorded 15 kills and a career-high 26 digs. The double-double was her 11th of the season and 25th of her career. In addition to Stromberg, junior right side hitter Gabby Fernandez (Tampa, Fla.) added 10 kills and six digs in the match.
Senior middle blocker Dominique Hale (Kingman, Ariz.) had seven kills and hit .292, while sophomore middle blocker Kayshia Brady (Welaka, Fla.) also had seven kills, two blocks and hit .259 and freshman outside hitter Brindl Langley (Camas, Wash.) also had seven kills and 18 digs on the night.
The match featured 13 ties and seven lead changes, with most of those coming in the first set. The first had eight ties and five lead changes.
In the first set, the Mocs jumped out to a 9-6 lead, before the Tars answered with an 11-2 run that gave them a 17-11 lead. The Mocs would respond with an 8-3 run that was keyed by four Rollins errors to pull within 20-19. After Rollins pushed its lead to 21-19 thanks to a kill by Ruth Harrington, the Mocs would score two straight points to tie the set at 21-all. That would be as close as FSC would get as the Tars scored four of the set's final five points to post the 25-22 win. In the first set, both teams combined for 87 digs as Rollins had 44 and FSC had 43.
The second set belonged to the Mocs as they jumped out to an early 9-4 lead. The Tars would pull as close as two points on three occasions the final time being at 16-14, before the Mocs responded by closing out the set on a 9-2 run to take post a 25-16 lead. In the set, the Mocs hit .293 and held Rollins to a .113 hitting percentage.
FSC used the momentum gained by winning the second set to jump out to an early 3-1 lead in the third set, before Rollins answered with a 9-3 run to take a 10-6 lead. The Mocs would pull within 10-8, before the Tars used a 7-4 spurt to extend its lead to 17-12. FSC would answer with a 5-2 run to pull within 19-17 following a kill by Hale, but the Tars would score six of the set's final nine points to post a 25-20 win and take a 2-1 edge in the match. The Mocs hit .208 and had 26 digs in the set, while Rollins hit .229 and had 23 digs.
Much like the third set, the fourth set was another competitive affair as neither team could gain much traction early on until the Tars used a 13-8 run to turn a 4-all tie into a 17-12 lead. The Mocs would answer that run with a 5-1 spurt of its own to pull within 18-17. After Rollins extended its lead to 20-17, the Mocs would use a kill by Fernandez to move within two points at 20-18. That would be as close as FSC would get, though, as the Tars scored five of the next seven points to seal its 25-20 win and snap a three-match losing skid to the Mocs. In the set, FSC hit .122 and had 24 digs, while Rollins hit .217 and also recorded 24 digs.
Harrington led the way for the Tars as she had a match-high 17 kills and added 19 digs, while Camille Indest added 13 kills in the win and Kelly Merideth had 10 kills, 15 digs and three blocks on the night. April Jackson had a double-double of 43 assists and 21 digs and Collyn Welsch had 29 digs and seven kills for the Tars.
Moccasin junior libero Catherine Brusie (North Branch, Mich.) recorded a collegiate career high of 33 digs to pace FSC's defensive attack. The 33 digs were one more than her previous collegiate career-high of 32 against Palm Beach Atlantic on Oct. 8.
In addition to Stromberg, sophomore setter Kendall Marotti (LaBelle, Fla.) picked up her team-leading 18th double-double of the season as she had 41 assists and 14 digs and added a career-high three solo blocks and had five kills on the night.
Both teams each recorded seven total team blocks, while Rollins had four aces and three service errors and FSC had five aces and eight service errors.
The Mocs, who have played three consecutive matches on the road, will continue its regular season ending six match road trip with a 4 p.m. match on Saturday, Nov. 16 at No. 2 ranked Tampa (26-1, 13-0). The Spartans, who clinched its ninth straight SSC volleyball title with its three-set win on Wednesday at home over Rollins, picked up a three-set win over the Mocs in Lakeland on Oct. 25. The Spartans have won 34 consecutive SSC matches since falling in a five-set match at Eckerd on Oct. 28, 2011. In addition, since the beginning of the 2009 campaign, UT is a combined 74-3 in conference matches.