HOOVER, AL - Florida Southern College volleyball picked up its fourth-straight win with a 3-1 victory over West Alabama on the first day of the South Region Crossover on Friday at the Finley Center. The Moccasins (11-6) went to extra points in two of the four sets on the evening, including a 31-29 win in a thrilling first set, to defeat the Tigers (13-7) for the third time in four meetings against UWA.
The Mocs return to action tomorrow with a pair of matches against Valdosta State and North Alabama. FSC's first match of the day takes place at 1:15 p.m. against VSU, while the contest against UNA is slated for 8 p.m.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Both teams came out on fire in the first set, each hitting better than .300 on the attack. The Moccasins hit .316 while the Tigers connected at a clip of .326 in a set in which both teams would stave off elimination several times in the late stages. West Alabama seemed to be in control as it held a four-point lead (23-19) in the late stages, but Florida Southern reeled off a 4-0 run to tie the set at 23-23 and fought off elimination after UWA made it 24-23. Despite failing to put the Tigers away with the score at 26-25, the Moccasins never fell behind and finally finished off West Alabama on Sydney Marshall's kill to take a 31-29 first-set win.
• In the second set, FSC got off to a quick 4-2 lead, but the Tigers were able to take advantage of a 4-1 run to grab a 9-7 lead just moments later. UWA would never surrender the lead the rest of the way, jumping in front by as many as six points (20-14) in the late going before finishing off the Mocs for a 25-21 second-set win to tie things at 1-1.
• The third set was similar to the first as neither team would back down easily. West Alabama looked to be in total control as it took a commanding 13-5 lead midway through the set, but the Moccasins began to chip away at the lead in small spurts and pulled within two points (23-21) late in the set. After the Tigers scored the next point to put the Mocs on the brink of defeat, Florida Southern answered with five-straight points, two of which came on service aces from Bethany Besancenez, to take a 26-24 third-set win.
• After falling behind by three (10-7) in the early part of the fourth set, the Moccasins were able to steady the ship and used an 8-1 run to jump in front by four points (15-11) and never trailed again en route to a 25-19 fourth-set victory and a 3-1 match win.
• Nicole Mattson led all player with 20 kills while Sydney Marshall (13) and Anna Tovo (10) also recorded double-digit kills. Bethany Besancenez had 45 assists and tallied 11 digs, while Tovo chipped in defensively with 21 digs. Gabby Fresh (17) and Nicci Joyce (13) also had double-digit dig totals. Marshall and Rachael Martin also got in on the action on defense with three blocks each.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 3-1 all-time against West Alabama. Friday's meeting was the first between the schools since the Mocs took a 3-0 victory over the Tigers on Oct. 15, 2010. The Moccasins have won 14 of their last 16 contests at the annual South Region Crossover, and have not lost two matches at the event since 2012.
• Besancenez pushed her career assist total to 3,084. She currently ranks seventh in school history in assists and needs just two more to move into sixth place.
• Tovo moved into seventh place in school history with 1,325 kills and needs just 16 more to move into sixth place in the FSC record books. Geary increased her career block total to 319 and needs just one more to move into sole possession of 10th place in school history in career blocks.
• The Moccasins will face Valdosta State (1:15 p.m.) and North Alabama (8 p.m.) on Saturday to finish off the South Region Crossover. The Mocs are 6-0 all-time against Valdosta State and 16-5 all-time against North Alabama. FSC last played both schools during the 2015 season.
• Following the South Region Crossover, the Moccasins return home and step back into Sunshine State Conference play against Barry (Oct. 20) and Nova Southeastern (Oct. 21).