WALTHAM, Mass. - Thanks to a combined 23 kills from Anna Tovo and Kendall Marotti, Florida Southern opened the season 3-0 for the third time in the last five seasons here Saturday morning as they posted a three-set victory over New Haven (25-22, 25-21, 25-14) in its third match of the season opening Bentley Volleyball Invitational at the Dana Center.
Tovo, who is an outside hitter from Aiken, S.C., recorded 13 kills, hit .323 and added a team-high 11 digs for her first career double-double and Marotti, a senior right side hitter from LaBelle, Fla., added 10 kills and four blocks in the 17th-ranked Moccasins' victory. New Haven, who advanced to the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals a year ago, fell to 1-2 on the season with the loss.
The Mocs will conclude the two-day Bentley Volleyball Invitational with a 4:30 p.m. match later today against LIU-Post.
For the third straight match, the Mocs hit over .250 as they recorded a .267 hitting percentage against the Chargers and had three players hit over .300 in the match. On defense, FSC held UNH to an .049 hitting percentage, including limiting them to an .000 attack percentage in the second set.
Through three matches this season, the Mocs are hitting .299 as a team and have recorded 128 kills with Marotti leading the way with 31, while Tovo is second with 30. Defensively, the Mocs have held their three foes to an .042 attack percentage.
In addition to Tovo and Marotti, junior outside hitter Brindl Langley (Camas, Wash.) had eight kills, including five in the third and deciding set and senior middle blocker Kayshia Brady (Welaka, Fla.) had seven kills and hit .357 in the victory.
FSC jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the opening set, before UNH ran off three of the next four points to pull within 14-8. Following UNH's run, the Mocs would push its lead out to 20-13, before the Chargers scored six of the next seven points to pull within 21-19. The Mocs would score two consecutive points to push its lead to 24-19, but UNH wouldn't go away as they reeled off three straight points to drop FSC's lead to 24-22. That would be as close as the Chargers would get as Tovo sealed the 25-22 win with her fourth and final kill of the set.
In the second set, UNH jumped out to a 13-8 lead and led 14-10 when the Mocs used an 8-0 scoring run highlighted by three consecutive aces from Shlemon to push out to an 18-14 lead. The Chargers, though, fought back as they score four straight points to tie the set at 18. FSC would respond with a 5-0 run capped by back-to-back kills from sophomore middle blocker Allie Geary (DeLand, Fla.) and Tovo. Trailing 23-18, UNH would score three of the next four points to pull within 24-21, but the Mocs would seal the 25-21 set win on a kill by Tovo. Tovo recorded six of her 13 kills in the set.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair early on until the Mocs used a 5-1 run to turn an 8-7 lead into a 13-8 advantage. After UNH pulled within 14-10, the Mocs used a 5-1 run to push out to a 19-11 lead. A kill by UNH's Kristine Rios brought the Chargers within 19-12, before the Mocs responded by closing the set by scoring six of the final eight points to seal its 25-14 set win. In the set, the Mocs hit .349 as a team, while UNH hit just .050.
Kristen Lee led the way offensive for UNH with nine kills and nine digs, while Rios, Meghan Kennelly and Micki Impellizeri each had four kills in the loss.
Both teams finished with six aces in the match as Rios matched Shlemon with four aces of her own.
On the season, the Mocs have recorded 22 aces and are averaging 2.20 per set in its first three matches.