WINTER PARK, FL - Florida Southern College volleyball swept its third-straight Sunshine State Conference opponent as the Moccasins (7-5, 4-0 SSC) remained perfect in conference play with a 3-0 win over Rollins (3-7, 2-4) on Friday night at Warden Arena. The victory marked the first time since early in the 2015 campaign that the Mocs have swept three-straight SSC opponents, and the four-match win streak ties last year's season-best winning streak.
Florida Southern faces No. 4 Palm Beach Atlantic at Rubin Arena in West Palm Beach at 4 p.m. on Saturday. A victory for the Mocs on Saturday would give them their first 5-0 start in conference play since 2005 when FSC won its first 14 league contests en route to a 31-5 record.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern fell behind early in the first set (6-3) but was able to rally back to regain the lead at 10-9 just moments later. After Rollins tied things up at 10-10, the Mocs ripped off a 6-0 run to jump out to a sizeable lead and never trailed the rest of the way. The Tars were able to cut the deficit to just three points on several occasions in the late stages, but FSC hung on for a 25-20 first-set win.
• In the second set, the Moccasins raced out to a quick 6-1 lead before Rollins battled back to get within one (11-10). After Florida Southern pushed its lead back to two points (12-10), the Tars reeled off four-straight points to take a 14-12 lead, but the Mocs responded with four points of their own to jump back in front by two (16-14). The set would remain close throughout the late stages as the score was tied at 23-23 in the closing moments, but a service error by Rollins and a block from the combo of Allie Geary and Sydney Marshall would prove to be the decisive points in a 25-23 second-set win.
• The third and final set was another tight battle that featured 19 ties and seven lead changes. The Tars looked as if they might pick up a third-set win when they snagged a 20-19 lead in the late stages, but the Mocs struck for a pair of points to take a 21-20 lead. With the score tied at 23-23 moments later, Nicole Mattson and Anna Tovo connected for back-to-back kills to seal Florida Southern's 3-0 victory over Rollins.
• Florida Southern hit .238 on the attack while holding the Tars to just .176. The Moccasins have held each of their last four opponents to less than .200 on the attack, and all seven of FSC's victories this year have come when the Mocs have held opponents to an attack percentage under .200.
• The Moccasins also finished with an 8-2 edge in blocks as Sydney Marshall led all players with six (two solo, four assists). Anna Tovo (14), Nicole Mattson (13), and Marshall (10) each tallied double-digit kills, while Nicci Joyce led all players with 16 digs. Bethany Besancenez posted 40 assists and Allie Geary had a match-best two service aces.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 4-0 in SSC play for the first time since 2005, when the Mocs opened conference play with 14 consecutive victories en-route to a 15-1 mark against Sunshine State Conference foes. The Mocs finished 35-1 that year, tied for the SSC regular-season title, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA South Regional.
• With Friday's win, the Moccasins improved to 88-8 all-time against the Tars, including 37-4 when facing Rollins in Winter Park. Florida Southern has won six-straight and eight of its last 10 against the Tars.
• Besancenez improved her career assist total to 2,871 and needs just 129 more to become just the ninth player in program history to record 3,000 assists. Geary recorded two blocks on Tuesday to push her career total to 295. She needs 24 more total blocks to enter the top 10 in the FSC record books. Tovo now has 1,259 kills and 965 digs and needs just 35 more digs to become the ninth player in school history with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her career. She is also 10 kills away from entering the all-time top 10 in school history.
• Florida Southern head to No. 4 Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday to face a Sailfish squad that is off to an 11-0 start, including a 6-0 mark in the SSC. PBA has swept 10 of its 11 opponents this season and has won 36-straight matches at home. The last time Palm Beach Atlantic was defeated on its home floor was in a 3-2 loss to Florida Southern on Oct. 13, 2014.
• The Mocs are looking to snap a four-match losing streak in the all-time series with PBA. The Sailfish defeated the Moccasins in both regular-season meetings last year and eliminated FSC in the NCAA South Region title match.