LAKELAND - Florida Southern Volleyball is set to host this season's South Regional Crossover Tournament this coming weekend at Jenkins Field House.
The tournament, which will run from Oct. 16-18, will feature a total of eight teams with four of the teams coming from the Sunshine State Conference and the other four teams coming from the Gulf South Conference. There will a total of 15 matches played at the event as FSC will divide Jenkins Field House into two courts.
Tickets for the South Regional Crossover will be available at the door with a one-day pass costing $8 and a two-day pass costing $12. Passes for seniors and non-FSC students will cost $5 for one-day and $10 for two-day passes. FSC students will be admitted freeÂ with a valid student ID.
In addition to FSC, the other teams coming to Lakeland this weekend to participate in the South Region Crossover are Eckerd College (SSC), Lee (Tenn.) University (GSC), North Alabama (GSC), Saint Leo (SSC), Tampa (SSC), Valdosta State (GSC) and West Florida (GSC).
Along with featuring eight teams, the three-day, eight-team tournament will also include three nationally ranked teams in this week's AVCA Division II Coaches' Poll as Tampa is ranked No. 1, West Florida is ranked 22nd and Florida Southern is ranked 25th. The Mocs have posted a 2-2 record this season against ranked teams as they have wins over Central Missouri (3-0) and Palm Beach Atlantic (3-2) and have lost to both Tampa (1-3) and Concordia-St. Paul (2-3).
The Moccasins, who are nationally ranked for the first time since the 2010 season, come into this weekend's South Regional Crossover sporting a 12-4 overall record and a 7-1 mark in the SSC after the first round of its league schedule. FSC extended its winning streak to five straight matches after rallying from two sets down to post a five-set win on Monday at 18th-ranked Palm Beach Atlantic (19-25, 24-26, 25-17, 25-20, 15-13).Â The MocsÂ have won five straightÂ and eight of its last nine matches overall with its only loss being a four-set loss at top-ranked Tampa on Sept. 27.
FSC will open the South Regional Crossover on Thursday, Oct. 16 with a 7 p.m. match against 22nd-ranked West Florida (16-2), before facing North Alabama (12-6) and Lee University (6-11) on Friday, Oct. 17 at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. respectively. The Mocs will close out the event on Saturday, Oct. 18 with a 5 p.m. match against Valdosta State (12-3).
The Mocs are led offensively by senior outside hitter Kate Stromberg (Lexington, Ky.) and junior middle blocker Kayshia Brady (Welaka, Fla.). Stromberg leads the way in kills (171), kills per set (3.00) and is third in both digs (146) and aces (19) and is hitting .234 and has recorded two double-doubles, while Brady is second on the team in kills (126), kills per set (2.52) and is third in blocks (38) and is hitting a team-best .378, which is third-best in the SSC and 23rd nationally. Brady, who was named this week's SSC Offensive Player of the Week, has hit over .300 in 10 matches, including hitting a season-high .737 against Flagler.
Stromberg enters the weekend needing just eight kills to become just the 20th member of the school's 1,000 Kill Club. Additionally, with eight kills she will also become just the eighth Moccasin to have recorded 1,000 career kill and 1,000 career digs. Entering this weekend's action, Stromberg has had 992 career kills and 1,037 digs.
Setting the table for a the Moccasin offense that is second in the league and is 13th nationally in Division II in hitting percentage (.258) is redshirt senior setter Ali Skayhan (Beaverton, Ore.). Skayhan, who was named the SSC Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 6, is second in the league in assists as she averages 10.02 per set and is third in digs (166), second in both aces (21) and hitting percentage (.373) and leads the team with 10 double-doubles, including three double-doubles in her last four matches.
Other key performers for the Mocs are junior right side hitter Kendall Marotti (LaBelle, Fla.), senior libero Catherine Brusie (North Branch, Mich.), sophomore middle blocker Rachel Mostert (Clearwater, Fla.) and sophomore outside hitter Brindl Langley (Camas, Wash.). Marotti is averaging 2.16 kills, 2.39 digs and 0.81 blocks per set and has had four double-doubles, while Brusie, who is a two-time SSC Defensive Player of the Week this season, is fourth in the SSC in digs per set (4.53) and has recorded 15 aces.Â Mostert is averaging 1.74 kills and a team and SSC-best 1.08 blocks per set and is hitting .265 and Langley has recorded 83 kills, leads the team and is third in the SSC in aces (0.47 per set) and is second in digs per set (3.33).
As a team, the Mocs lead the league in both digs (17.16 per set) and blocks (2.26 per set) and are second in the league in kills (13.12 per set), aces (1.77 per set) and is hitting .258 and holding their opponents to a .157 attack percentage, which is second-best in the SSC.
West Florida, who is ranked 22nd in this week's latest AVCA Division II Coaches' Poll, comes into the weekend having won four straight matches to improve its overall record to 16-2. The Argonauts, who a members of the GSC, are led by junior outside hitter Carol Siqueira. Siqueira is averaging 2.77 kills, 2.47 digs and 0.73 blocks per set and is hitting .229. In addition to Siqueira, sophomore outside/right side hitter Cora Bidlack is averaging 2.68 kills, 0.72 blocks and 0.60 digs per set and is hitting .306, while sophomore outside hitter Corisha Smith is averaging 2.57 kills and 0.84 digs per set and is hitting .273 and senior middle blocker Sarah Scott is averaging 1.77 kills and is 14th nationally in blocks per set as she averages 1.23 as she has had 53 blocks in 43 sets on the year.
As a team, UWF is averaging 13.50 kills, 15.39 digs, 2.35 blocks and 1.39 aces per set and is hitting .240 as a team and allowing its foes to hit just .103, which is fifth nationally in this week's Division II statistics. Thursday's meeting with UWF will be the 14th all-time in the series as the Mocs hold a slight 7-6 edge, but UWF has won the last two meetings.
North Alabama enters the weekend having won eight of its last 10 matches and is sporting a 12-6 overall record and are 9-4 in the GSC. The Lions, who play at Rollins on Thursday before participating in the South Region Crossover, are led by the play of senior outside/middle hitter Megan Gorey. Gorey has recorded 263 kills and is averaging 3.87 kills, 1.07 digs and 0.68 blocks per set and has recorded 20 aces and is hitting .259. In addition to Gorey, sophomore outside hitter Natasha Formina is averaging 2.86 kills, 0.68 digs and 0.33 blocks per set, while freshman middle hitter Megan Wadsworth is averaging 2.20 kills and 0.90 blocks per set and isÂ hitting a team-best .340 and freshman libero Ashtyn Kapovich is averaging 4.38 digs per set and has recorded a team leading 34 aces and has 57 assists on the year.
As a team, UNA is averaging 13.01 kills, 16.40 digs and 1.80 blocks per set and is hitting .208 as a team and allowing its foes to hit .158. Friday's meeting with UNA will be the 20th all-time in the series as the Mocs hold a 14-5 edge in the series, including picking up a three-set win at last year's South Regional Crossover in Pensacola.
Lee University, who is inÂ its third and final season of transitioning from NAIA to Division II in 2014-15, heads into the weekend sporting a 6-12 overall record and a 4-6 mark in the GSC after falling in four sets at home Tuesday to Shorter. The Flames, who have posted a 783-322 all-time volleyball record, is paced by the play of senior outside hitter Latrice Johnson. Johnson leads the team in kills (138), kills per set (2.23) and is tied for second in aces (18) and is second in digs (163). In addition to Johnson, sophomore setter/right side hitter Erin Hill is averaging 2.11 kills and 1.24 digs per set and is second in blocks with 32 and has had a team-best 20 aces, while senior middle blocker Lauren Williams is averaging 2.38 kills and 0.88 blocks per set and has had 14 aces and is hitting a team-best .301 and sophomore middle/outside hitter Catherine Conley is tied for the team lead in blocks with 46 and has added 93 kills and 43 digs on the season.
As a team, Lee is averaging 11.41 kills, 14.21 digs, 1.54 aces and 1.81 blocks per set and are hitting .155 as a team. Friday's meeting will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools in volleyball.
Valdosta State enters the weekend having won seven consecutive matches to raise its record to 13-3 overall and 8-3 in the GSC. The Blazers, who are members of the GSC, are led by the play of senior outside hitter Jenna Kirkwood. Kirkwood leads the team in kills (213), kills per set (3.44), is fourth in digs with 101 and is hitting .184. In addition to Kirkwood, senior setter Jessica Codato leads the team in assists (595), aces (23) and is second in digs with 161 and is hitting .235, while senior middle blocker Destiny Berry is 12th nationally in blocks per set as she averages 1.31 blocks per set and has also recorded 125 kills and is hitting .305 and senior setter Ashley Lala leads the Blazers in digs as she averages 4.32 digs per set and has recorded 19 aces on the year.
As a team, the Blazers are averaging 15.70 kills, 11.13 assists, 14.70 digs, 1.27 aces and 2.25 blocks per set, which is 33rd nationally in the latest Division II statistics and are hitting .204 as a team and allowing its opponents to hit .149 on the season. Saturday's meeting with VSU will mark the fifth-ever between the two season as the Mocs lead the series, 3-1 all-time.
Following this weekend's South Regional Crossover, the Mocs will open the second half of SSC on the road with two matches next weekend. The road swing will begin on Thursday, Oct. 23 in Melbourne with a 7 p.m. match against Florida Tech and will conclude with a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Oct. 24 in Boca Raton against Lynn. The Mocs picked up three-set sweeps over both teams in Lakeland during the first half of its league slate.
The full schedule of this year's South Regional Crossover:
Thursday, October 16
7 p.m. - #25 Florida Southern vs. #22 West Florida (Court 1)
Friday, October 17
10 a.m. - Saint Leo vs. #22 West Florida (Court 1)
10 a.m. - Eckerd vs. Valdosta State (Court 2)
12:30 p.m. - Florida Southern vs. North Alabama (Court 1)
12:30 p.m. - #1 Tampa vs. Lee University (Court 2)
2:30 p.m. - Eckerd vs. #22 West Florida (Court 1)
4:30 p.m. - Saint Leo vs. North Alabama (Court 2)
5 p.m. - #1 Tampa vs. Valdosta State (Court 1)
7:30 p.m. - #25 Florida Southern vs. Lee University (Court 1)
Saturday, October 18
11 a.m. - #1 Tampa vs. #22 West Florida (Court 1)
11 a.m. - Saint Leo vs. Valdosta State (Court 2)
1 p.m. - Eckerd vs. Lee University (Court 1)
3 p.m. - #1 Tampa vs. North Alabama (Court 2)
5 p.m. - #25 Florida Southern vs. Valdosta State (Court 1)
5 p.m. - Saint Leo vs. Lee University (Court 2)
Court 1 - Main court @ Jenkins Field House
Court 2 - Aux. court adjacent to main court @ Jenkins Field House
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