TAMPA, FL - Florida Southern College volleyball ran its win streak to 11-straight matches with a 3-0 win over Sunshine State Conference rival Tampa on Tuesday at the Bob Martinez Center. The Moccasins (18-6, 12-1 SSC) defeated the Spartans (11-13, 6-7) in Tampa for the first time since 1994, snapping a string of 29-straight road losses to the Spartans.
The victory also marked the first time since 1994 that the Mocs swept the regular-season series from UT. The 11-match win streak is the longest since FSC won its first 12 contests of the 2015 season. Tuesday's win sets Florida Southern up with a crucial conference showdown with No. 6 Palm Beach Atlantic on Friday, with the winner taking sole possession of first place in the SSC.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern looked as if it might be in trouble early as Tampa raced out to a 4-1 lead in the first set. However, the Moccasins battled back to tie things at 11 before the Spartans scored three-straight points. The Mocs used a 4-0 run later in the set to grab their first lead of the match at 16-14, and a back-and-forth battle would ensue the rest of the way. Tampa would find itself on the ropes several times in the late stages, fending off match points at 24-23 and 25-24. A pair of kills from Anna Tovo and Nicole Mattson would prove to be the difference, as Florida Southern took a 27-25 first-set win.
• The second set was tight early on, but the Moccasins used a 7-1 run later on to turn a 6-5 lead into a 13-6 advantage. The momentum would be all that Florida Southern would need as the Mocs turned up the heat and cruised to a 25-12 second-set victory.
• In the third set, Florida Southern fell behind 3-0 before coming back to tie things at 7-7. The Mocs would take the lead on the next point and never trailed again as they rolled to a 25-18 third set win and a 3-0 sweep of their longtime rival.
• The Moccasins hit .333 on the night while holding Tampa to just .163. Florida Southern also finished with a 6-2 advantage in blocks and tallied six service aces to Tampa's four. Sydney Marshall led all players with 12 kills while hitting a blistering .688. Mattson added 10 kills and 12 digs, while Tovo had eight kills and 12 digs. Allie Geary led the team with three total blocks, and Bethany Besancenez finished with 35 assists and 12 digs.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 56-69 all-time against the Spartans, picking up their first road win against Tampa since 1994. The Moccasins had lost 29-straight road matches to the Spartans but were able to bring their all-time record to 13-36 when facing the Spartans in Tampa. The victory also marked the first time Florida Southern has swept Tampa since 1994, the same year the Mocs last won a match in Tampa.
• The Moccasins have won three-straight against the Spartans dating back to last year. The last time Florida Southern won three-straight against the Spartans also came in 1994 when head coach Jill Stephens was a senior outside hitter for the Mocs.
• Besancenez pushed her career assist total to 3,378. She currently ranks sixth in school history and needs 437 more to move into fifth place. Besancenez has tallied 1,019 assists through 24 matches this season. She is averaging 11.32 assists per set this season, tops in the Sunshine State Conference and good for 18th nationally.
• Tovo increased her career kill total to 1,429. She needs 67 more to move into fourth place in the FSC record books. Geary increased her career block total to 348 and needs 17 more to move into eighth in school history.
• During FSC's 11-match winning streak, the Mocs have outblocked opponents 92-60 and have recorded 75 aces while allowing just 48. Mattson and Tovo have combined for 311 of Florida Southern's 564 kills during the win streak (55.1 percent), while the trio of Geary, Marshall, and Rachael Martin are responsible for 69 of the team's 92 total blocks (75.0 percent) during that span.
• Florida Southern will battle No. 6 Palm Beach Atlantic at 7 p.m. on Friday at Jenkins Field House. The winner will take sole possession of first place in the Sunshine State Conference. The Mocs will also take on Rollins at home this weekend - that match is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday.