LAKELAND, FL - Nicole Mattson posted back-to-back 27 kill performances as Florida Southern College volleyball wrapped up its opening weekend at home with a pair of wins at the Terrace Hotel Classic on Saturday at Jenkins Field House. The No. 23 Moccasins (5-3) went a perfect 4-0 over the weekend by grabbing wins over Catawba, 3-1, and West Texas A&M, 3-0, in their final two matches over Labor Day weekend.
The victories extended Florida Southern's home winning streak to 20-straight matches dating back to last year. The Mocs will open Sunshine State Conference action at home on Tuesday against Eckerd at 7 p.m. before heading to Saint Leo for their first SSC road match on Sept. 8.
HOW IT HAPPENED AGAINST CATAWBA
- Florida Southern set the tone early with a dominant 25-15 win in the first set. Leading by just one (13-12) midway through the set, the Mocs mounted an 8-1 run to gain all the momentum and jump on top by eight (21-13) and closed out the set after the Indians made three-straight errors.
- It looked as if Southern might also take the second set when it got out to a 14-10 lead, but Catawba battled back to tie things at 15-15 and eventually had a chance to close out the set when it led 24-23. However, the Mocs stayed alive when Mattson put down a kill to make it 24-24. It would not be enough, however, as the Indians found the final two points to win the set and tie things at 1-1.
- The third set proved to be the big difference-maker as Florida Southern roared out of the gates to a 14-2 lead and rolled to a 25-10 set victory. Catawba managed just six kills in the third set as the Moccasin defense held the Indians to a -.128 attack percentage.
- Although the fourth set was much closer (25-19), the Mocs still led by as many as seven points in the late stages and hit an impressive .341 to close things out for a 3-1 win.
- Mattson led all players with 27 kills while adding 17 digs. Rachael Martin added 13 kills from the middle, while Gabby Fresh (21), Whitney Drost (13), Makena Wilson (13), and Bethany Besancenez (12) all added double-digit dig totals. Besancenez also tallied 53 assists, while Tierra Porter had a team-high five blocks. The Moccasins hit .269 on the attack while limiting the Indians to just .106, and finished with 61 kills to Catawba's 36.
HOW IT HAPPENED AGAINST WEST TEXAS A&M
- The final match of the weekend started off with a bang as Florida Southern won a tightly contested first set (30-28) en route to a sweep. After a 4-0 run midway through the first put the Mocs up by four and forced the Lady Buffs to burn a timeout, the teams would trade blows until the Mocs went up 25-24 with a chance to close out the set. But West Texas A&M would stave off defeat three more times before Mattson put down back-to-back kills to end things.
- The second set also went the Moccasins' way, although the road proved to be much easier. Florida Southern built a comfortable 17-10 lead and although the Lady Buffs closed the gap to just one (22-21), Southern was able to hang on for a 25-21 set victory.
- In what turned out to be the final set of the weekend, both squads treated fans to yet another extra-points contest. Neither team was able to build much of an advantage as the lead changed hands several times throughout. Just like in the first set, Florida Southern once again had a chance to put things away with a 24-23 lead and just like the first set, the Lady Buffs held off elimination for a brief time. But Mattson put down another kill and West Texas A&M committed a bad set on the final play of the night to give Florida Southern a 26-24 third-set win.
- Mattson also had 27 kills against the Lady Buffs and added nine digs in the contest. Martin had another double-digit kill performance with 10, while Fresh had 15 digs and Besancenez had 50 assists. Porter and Anica Popadic led the Mocs with six blocks each.
- Florida Southern hit a blistering .333 in the victory and held West Texas A&M to just .225 on the attack. Both teams finished with six service aces, and the Mocs outblocked the Lady Buffs by a tally of 9-5.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern has won 20-straight home contests dating back to last year. The last time the Mocs lost at home was a 3-2 defeat to No. 12 Western Washington on Sept. 2, 2017. The school record for consecutive home wins is 41, which came from 1988-91. The Moccasins improved to 6-0 all-time against Catawba and 4-8 against West Texas A&M. The weekend marked the sixth-straight year that the Mocs have hosted the Terrace Hotel Classic, and Florida Southern is 19-3 in the last six events.
- Besancenez improved her career assist total to 4,253. She needs 1,476 more to tie FSC Athletics Hall of Famer Jordan McAfee for the most in program history. Mattson pushed her career kill total to 1,262, and needs nine more to move into the top-10 of the school record books.
- Florida Southern kicks off Sunshine State Conference action at home against Eckerd (Sept. 4) before three-straight conference road matches at Saint Leo (Sept. 8), Lynn (Sept. 14), and Barry (Sept. 15). The Mocs close out the month with four-straight home contests.