Moccasins Split Final Matches at Colorado Premier Challenge

Nicole Mattson
Nicole Mattson

DENVER, CO - Florida Southern College volleyball capped off the 2017 Colorado Premier Challenge with a split on Saturday. The Moccasins (3-5) earned a 3-2 win over in-state rival West Florida in the first match of the day but fell to Regis by a 3-1 final in the nightcap. The volleyball squad will remain in Colorado until it is safe for the team to return in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

• Florida Southern looked as if it might dispatch the Argonauts in straight sets after jumping out to an early 2-0 lead. In the first set, the Mocs raced out to an early lead and held a four-point edge (16-12) midway through. West Florida responded with a 7-1 run to jump in front by two (19-17) until Florida Southern reeled off a 7-1 run of its own to close out the first set, 25-21.
• The Moccasins dominated the second set, snagging an eight-point lead (16-8) rather quickly and cruising to a 25-17 second-set victory. West Florida rallied back in the third set by using a late 5-0 run to turn a 16-16 deadlock into a 21-16 advantage en route to a 25-23 win. The Argos also used a late run in the fourth set to pull away for a 25-15 win to force a fifth set.
• With the score tied at 9-9 in the final frame, West Florida was able to score four of the next five points to make it 13-10 and put Florida Southern on the ropes. After an FSC service error gave the Argos a 14-12 lead and a chance to close out the match, the Mocs score four in a row to win the fifth set and take the match by a 3-2 final.
Nicole Mattson led the way with 25 kills while Whitney Drost and Anna Tovo each tallied 11. Gabby Fresh posted a team-high 23 digs and Bethany Besancenez racked up 52 assists. The Moccasins racked up nine team blocks, including a match-clinching block from Allie Geary and Whitney Drost to end the fifth set.

• In the nightcap, Florida Southern took an early 1-0 lead as it won the first set in thrilling fashion. Both teams had chances to win the set and take the early lead, but a back-and-forth battle ensued late in the set before Florida Southern finally scored two consecutive times on back-to-back kills from Tovo to take a 32-30 first-set win.
• Although FSC grabbed the early momentum, Regis would roar back in the second set as the Rangers used an early 4-0 run to create separation and never looked back in a 25-15 second-set win. The teams traded 5-0 runs to start the third set, but Regis gained momentum late with five-straight points to turn a 16-15 deficit into a 20-16 lead before closing things out for a 25-20 win to go up 2-1. The fourth and final set was close throughout, but Regis again used a series of late runs to widen the gap en route to a 25-20 set victory and a 3-1 win.
• Tovo led the Mocs with 21 kills while Mattson added 11. Five different Florida Southern players recorded double-digit digs, with Fresh tallying a team-best 20. Besancenez finished with 16, Tovo and Nicci Joyce each had 14, and Mattson tallied 11. Besancenez also had 48 assists.

• Florida Southern is slated to start Sunshine State Conference play at home on Sept. 15 against Eckerd before heading to defending SSC champion Saint Leo on Sept. 16. As of now, both contests are still on, but fans should check FSCMocs.com regularly as the after effects from Hurricane Irma could still cause schedule changes.
• The volleyball team will return to Florida later in the week after the storm as passed and it is deemed safe for the squad to return home. There are no other events scheduled for the remainder of the weekend, and no other teams are traveling.