BOCA RATON, FL - Sydney Marshall turned in one of the best performances of her career as Florida Southern College volleyball rallied from a 2-1 deficit to earn a 3-2 victory over Lynn on Saturday in Sunshine State Conference action. The Moccasins (17-6, 11-1 SSC) picked up their 10th-straight victory of the season and finished off the season sweep of the Fighting Knights (6-13, 4-9) to stay in contention for an SSC title.
Marshall finished with 13 kills, 10 block assists, seven digs and three aces, while Nicole Mattson and Anna Tovo combined for 38 kills as the Mocs dominated the fourth set to stay alive and completed the comeback with a 15-12 victory in the decisive fifth set.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Lynn looked as if it might run away with the first set as it raced out to a 7-2 lead early on. Florida Southern was able to battle back to tie things up at 11-11 and led 18-17 in the late stages of the set. With the Knights holding a 24-23 lead and the Moccasins facing a first-set loss, FSC battled back to tie thing up and the teams traded jabs until the score stood at 28-28. That's when Lynn picked up back-to-back points to take a 30-28 victory in a first-set marathon.
• The Moccasins bounced back nicely in the second set, grabbing a 10-6 lead in the early stages before the Knights would gain some momentum. Trailing by four, Lynn would reel off six-straight points to take the lead (12-10) but the Mocs answered back with a 4-0 run of their own later on to grab a 19-17 advantage and force the Knights to call timeout. Lynn looked as if it might go up 2-0 in the match when it took a 23-22 lead in the late stages but three-straight attack errors by the Knights, the last of which was blocked by Bethany Besancenez and Allie Geary, gave Florida Southern a 25-22 second-set win.
• Lynn answered back with a 25-22 win of its own in the third set. The Knights jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never trailed, despite allowing the Mocs to tie the match several times in the late stages. Florida Southern trailed by just two (21-19) at one point, but Lynn scored three-straight to gain the upper hand and took the set to go up 2-1.
• Facing elimination in the fourth set, and with their winning streak on the line, Florida Southern dominated the Knights en route to a 25-14 fourth-set win to force a decisive fifth set. The Mocs never trailed in the fourth set after scoring the first two points and rolled to victory.
• In the fifth set, FSC jumped on top 3-0 at the onset before Lynn battled back to take a two-point lead (10-8). The Moccasins were able to turn the tide with a 4-0 run to regain the lead and rode the wave of momentum to a 15-12 fifth set win a 3-2 match victory.
• Florida Southern hit just .189 on the night but held the Knights to a paltry .118 on the attack and outblocked Lynn 17-10. Mattson led all players with 25 kills and tallied 15 digs while Tovo finished with 13 kills and 24 digs. Besancenez put up 56 assists and came away with 19 digs, while Geary tallied 11 total blocks (four solo, seven assists).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 32-10 all-time against the Knights, including a 15-6 mark when facing Lynn in Boca Raton. The 10-match winning streak is the team's best since reeling off 12-straight to open the 2015 campaign. The Moccasins are 7-3 on the road this season after Saturday's victory.
• Besancenez pushed her career assist total to 3,343. She currently ranks sixth in school history and needs 472 more to move into fifth place. Besancenez has tallied 984 assists through 23 matches this season. She is averaging 11.31 assists per set this season, tops in the Sunshine State Conference and good for 18th nationally.
• Tovo increased her career kill total to 1,421 to take sole possession of fifth place in school history. She needs 75 more to move into fourth place in the FSC record books. Geary increased her career block total to 345 and needs 20 more to move into eighth in school history.
• During FSC's 10-match winning streak, the Mocs have outblocked opponents 86-58 and have recorded 69 aces while allowing just 44. Mattson and Tovo have combined for 293 of Florida Southern's 519 kills during the win streak (56.7 percent), while the trio of Geary, Marshall, and Rachael Martin are responsible for 64 of the team's 86 total blocks (74.0 percent) during that span.
• Florida Southern heads to longtime rival Tampa on Tuesday, and squares off with No. 3 Palm Beach Atlantic in a pivotal SSC showdown on Friday night at 7 p.m. Jenkins Field House. The Sailfish (21-1, 13-1) lost their first match on Friday, opening the door for the Moccasins to gain the upper hand in the race for the conference championship. FSC wraps up the week at home against Rollins.
• The Mocs play five of their final seven contests at home. After traveling to Tampa, Florida Southern will face PBA, Rollins, Embry-Riddle (Nov. 10), Florida Tech (Nov. 11) and Saint Leo (Nov. 14) before finishing the year on the road at Nova Southeastern (Nov. 17) and Barry (Nov. 18)