LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College volleyball bounced back from a rough opening weekend by dominating two top-notch opponents on the first day of the Terrace Hotel Classic on Friday night. The No. 23 Moccasins (3-3) took down No. 4 Ferris State (4-2) in their home-opener before cruising to a 3-0 victory over Drury (4-2). In the process, Florida Southern ran its home winning streak to 18-straight dating back to last year.
Southern is back in action tomorrow to wrap up the weekend with matches against Catawba (12:45 p.m.) and West Texas A&M (7 p.m.). The day will also include contests between West Texas A&M and Wilmington, as well as Catawba vs. Wilmington.
HOW IT HAPPENED AGAINST FERRIS STATE
- Florida Southern set the tone early by torching the Bulldogs in the first set 25-10. After a highly entertaining first few points, the Mocs were able to use a 9-3 run to turn a 6-5 edge into a sizeable seven-point lead (15-8). After Ferris State scored to get back within six, the Moccasins slammed the door shut with a 6-0 run to jump in front by 12 (21-9) and closed out the set with four-straight points to take a 1-0 match lead.
- Although Florida Southern never trailed in the second set, the Bulldogs almost mounted an impressive comeback by turning an 18-13 deficit into an 18-18 stalemate. After trading the next two points, the Mocs ripped off five in a row to make it 24-19 en route to a 25-20 set win and a 2-0 match lead.
- The third set saw the Mocs snag an 11-8 lead in the early stages, but Ferris State scores seven-straight points to take all the momentum and grab a 15-11 lead. The Bulldogs would never trail again as they snagged a 25-18 win to bring the match to 2-1.
- In the fourth and final set, neither team was able to gain much of an edge until midway through, when Florida Southern went on a 6-2 run to turn a 14-14 tie into a 20-16 lead. Ferris State was able to get within one point (23-22) in the final moments, but back-to-back kills from Rachael Martin and Whitney Drost proved to be the difference as the Moccasins took the fourth set by a 25-22 final to earn the match victory.
- Nicole Mattson led the Mocs with 17 kills, while Martin recorded 16 and added six total blocks. Gabby Fresh tallied a team-best 20 digs, and Bethany Besancenez added 47 assists to go along with her five kills. Drost had nine kills, and Anica Popadic also recorded five. The Moccasins tallied seven service aces, and outhit the Bulldogs .267 to .155 on the attack.
HOW IT HAPPENED AGAINST DRURY
- One week after being swept by the Panthers at the Peggy Martin Challenge, the Mocs exacted revenge with a sweep of their own. Florida Southern won all three sets by identical 25-19 scores to defeat a Drury squad that upset Ferris State earlier in the day and entered the weekend receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll.
- A close first set turned midway through when the Moccasins went on a 4-0 run to turn an 11-10 deficit into a 14-11 lead. Florida Southern would hold the lead the rest of the way to take the first set of the match and grab the early momentum.
- The Panthers were able to get out to a four-point lead (13-9) early in the second set, but the Mocs quickly erased Drury's advantage by mounting an 8-2 run to get in front by two points (17-15) and force a timeout. The scoring run would prove to be the difference as Tierra Porter closed out the set with a kill to put Florida Southern up 2-0.
- Another scoring run midway through the third set helped propel the Mocs to another 25-19 win. With the scored tied at 10-10, Southern scored six of the next seven points to make it 16-11. Drury was again unable to overcome the scoring run as Florida Southern closed things out for the sweep.
- Mattson recorded a team-best 14 kills in the second match, while Porter tallied seven and picked up 12 total blocks (five solo, seven assists). Fresh had a team-high 14 digs and Bescanenez tallied 35 assists. The Mocs outblocked the Panthers 14-4 and held Drury to just .061 on the attack while connecting at a clip of .303 on their own attack attempts.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 2-1 all-time against Drury and 6-1 all-time against Ferris State. Friday's meeting between the Mocs and Bulldogs marked the first time since 1994 that Florida Southern and Ferris State have met in volleyball. The Moccasins have won 18-straight home matches dating back to last year, with their last home defeat coming on Sept. 2, 2017 (3-2 vs. No. 12 Western Washington).
- Porter's 12 total blocks in the second match of the day are the most for any Moccasin since Sept. 27, 2002, when Rachelle Konczal also had 12. Her five solo blocks are the most for a Florida Southern player since Kayshia Brady's five solo blocks against Valdosta State on Oct. 18, 2014.
- The Moccasins are hosting the Terrace Hotel Classic for the sixth-straight year, and are 17-3 overall in those events.
- Besancenez improved her career assist total to 4,150 to move into second-place in school history in career assists. She needs 1,579 more to tie FSC Athletics Hall of Famer Jordan McAfee for the most in program history. Mattson pushed her career kill total to 1,208, and needs 63 more to move into the top-10 of the school record books.
- Florida Southern closes out the weekend with matchups against Catawba and West Texas A&M. The Moccasins open Sunshine State Conference action at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Eckerd.