LAKELAND, FL - An incredible all-around performance and a raucous crowd helped lead Florida Southern College volleyball to a 3-0 sweep of No. 6 Palm Beach Atlantic on Friday night at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (19-6, 13-1 SSC) took sole possession of first place in the Sunshine State Conference by picking up their 12th-straight victory and handing the Sailfish (22-2, 14-2) just their second loss of the season.
The Mocs hit .339 on the attack while holding PBA to just .200, and got double-digit kills from Nicole Mattson (13), Anna Tovo (13), and Sydney Marshall (11) en route to their biggest win of the season. The victory puts Florida Southern in position to win its eighth SSC regular-season title and gives the Moccasins the inside track on the top seed in next month's NCAA South Regional.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern trailed just three times all night, once in the first set and twice in the second, and never by more than a single point as it dominated Palm Beach Atlantic in nearly every facet of the game. In the first set with PBA leading by one (6-5), the Moccasins scored four-straight points to seize momentum and take a 9-6 lead. PBA was able to slice the deficit to a single point, but the Mocs would use a 7-2 run later to take a 19-12 lead en route to a 25-17 first-set win.
• In the second set, Florida Southern would use another 4-0 run to turn a one-point deficit (6-5) into a three-point advantage (9-6) and never surrendered the lead. The Sailfish were never really able to threaten until late in the set when they cut FSC's lead to two points (24-22) but Tovo ended the set with a kill to put the Mocs up 2-0 thanks to a 25-22 second-set win.
• The Mocs led wire-to-wire in the third set, racing out to a 4-1 lead and never faltering. Leading by just two points (18-16) late in the set, the Moccasins called a timeout and responded with three points in a row to swing momentum in their favor and rode the wave to a 25-21 third-set win to complete the sweep.
• Mattson and Tovo led all player with 13 kills, while Marshall added 11. Tovo also had six digs, four block assists, and a service ace. Mattson added 12 digs to her stat line and Marshall finished with seven. Gabby Fresh had a team-high 14 digs, and Bethany Besancenez finished with 38 assists and 10 digs. The Moccasins finished with eight kills while holding Palm Beach Atlantic to just two. PBA entered the night ranked third in the nation in blocks per set.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 9-7 all-time against Palm Beach Atlantic and snapped a four-match losing streak to the Sailfish. The Mocs are 8-2 all-time when facing PBA in Jenkins Field House. The victory marked the 12th-straight for Florida Southern, tying its 12-match win streak from the 2015 campaign. The 12 victories in a row are tied for the longest win streak since the Moccasins won 13 in a row in 2006.
• Besancenez pushed her career assist total to 3,416. She currently ranks sixth in school history and needs 399 more to move into fifth place. Besancenez has tallied 1,057 assists through 25 matches this season. She is averaging 11.37 assists per set this season, tops in the Sunshine State Conference and good for 18th nationally.
• Tovo increased her career kill total to 1,442. She needs 54 more to move into fourth place in the FSC record books. Allie Geary increased her career block total to 351 and needs 14 more to move into eighth in school history.
• During FSC's 12-match winning streak, the Mocs have outblocked opponents 100-62 and have recorded 76 aces while allowing just 50. Mattson and Tovo have combined for 337 of Florida Southern's 613 kills during the win streak (55.0 percent), while the trio of Geary, Marshall, and Rachael Martin are responsible for 76 of the team's 100 total blocks (76.0 percent) during that span.
• The Moccasins will face Rollins on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the second of five-straight home matches. Florida Southern will host Embry-Riddle (Nov. 10) and Florida Tech (Nov. 11) next weekend, and concludes the homestand against Saint Leo on Nov. 14.