DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Florida Southern College volleyball rallied from a first-set loss to snag a 3-1 win over Embry-Riddle on Saturday at the ICI Center. The victory pulled the Moccasins (9-6, 6-1 SSC) into a second-place tie with Saint Leo in the SSC standings, while the Eagles (4-7, 2-6) dropped their fourth-straight match. The Mocs will travel to Saint Leo on Tuesday for a pivotal conference showdown before heading to Hoover, AL for the South Region Crossover from Oct. 13-14.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern got out to an early 5-2 lead in the opening set, but Embry-Riddle responded with three-straight points to tie the set at 5-5, and a back-and-forth battle would ensue until the Mocs gained a sizeable four-point lead (17-13) in the late stages. Again, the Eagles rallied and were able to jump in front by one (20-19) in the closing moments. FSC tied things at 20-20 but ERAU ripped off five-straight points to take the first set by a 25-20 final.
• In the second set, the Mocs jumped on top early and never trailed. Although the Eagles were able to cut their deficit to just a single point (15-14) midway through, the Mocs were able to hang on thanks to timely kills from Allie Geary, Nicole Mattson, and Sydney Marshall to pull out a 25-22 second-set win and tie the match at 1-1.
• Embry-Riddle seized control early in the second set as the Eagles took an early 6-3 lead, but Florida Southern stormed back with a 6-0 run to take a 9-6 lead and seize all the momentum. The Mocs would never trail again, and although Embry-Riddle stayed within striking distance, Anna Tovo was able to put the game away as Florida Southern took a 25-21 third-set win to grab a 2-1 lead in the match.
• The fourth and final set was a near mirror-image of the third, as ERAU grabbed a 6-3 lead before the Mocs rallied back to tie things at 7-7 and took the lead when Marshall put down a kill on the next point. Embry-Riddle was actually able to take control late in the set by grabbing a 23-18 lead and looked as if it might force a fifth set, but the Mocs ripped off seven-straight points as Mattson put down the final two kills to clinch a 25-23 fourth-set win and a 3-1 match victory.
• Both teams hit a respectable .253 on the attack, but Florida Southern finished with a 13-10 edge in service aces. Embry-Riddle finished with more blocks than the Moccasins (6-4), and each team committed one block error. Mattson led the Mocs with 19 kills while Marshall tallied 14. Gabby Fresh had 24 digs and Anna Tovo added nine kills and 15 digs of her own. Nicci Joyce (11) also finished with double-digit digs. Geary had a team-high three blocks (two solo, one assist) and Bethany Besancenez recorded 49 assists.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 7-1 all-time against the Eagles, including a 3-1 mark in Daytona Beach. In conference play this season, the Mocs have won 18 of the 24 sets in which they have played.
• Besancenez improved her career assist total to 2,987 and needs just 13 more to become just the ninth player in program history to record 3,000 assists. Allie Geary recorded three blocks on Saturday to push her career total to 309. She needs 10 more total blocks to enter the top 10 in the FSC record books. Tovo now has 1,297 kills and 1,007 digs and is just the ninth player in school history with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her career. She is now ranked eighth in school history in career kills and needs 25 more to move into eighth place.
• Florida Southern travels to Saint Leo on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a key SSC match, which will give the winner an edge in the battle for second place in the conference standings. FSC travels to Hoover, AL on Oct. 13-14 for the annual South Region Crossover, where it will face three opponents from the Gulf South Conference. The opponents will be determined at the beginning of next week.