ORLANDO, FL - Rachael Martin and Nicole Mattson put on an offensive clinic as Florida Southern College volleyball kicked off the 2018 South Region Crossover with a pair of 3-0 victories on Friday at the Orlando Sports Center. The Moccasins (16-8) took down Valdosta State in the first match of the day and dominated No. 12 West Florida in the second contest. Martin tallied 13 kills in the win against the Blazers, while Mattson ended the day with 18 against the Argonauts.
The Mocs will wrap up the weekend tomorrow against West Georgia as the Sunshine State Conference and Gulf South Conference conclude their annual crossover tournament.
HOW IT HAPPENED AGAINST VALDOSTA STATE
- Florida Southern largely dominated each set in its 3-0 win over the Blazers. The Moccasins never trailed in the first set and were able to build an eight-point lead (13-5) based on the strength of a 5-0 run early in the set. Valdosta State would get no closer than five points the rest of the way as it rolled to a 25-19 first-set win. The Mocs hit .375 on the attack while holding the Blazers to just .143.
- In the second set, Valdosta State grabbed early momentum with a 3-0 run to start things off. However, the Moccasins rallied and pulled within one (10-9) before VSU jumped back up by two (11-9). That's when Southern would come to life and ripped off four in a row to take a 13-11 lead and force the Blazers to call a timeout. After leading by as many as four (17-13), FSC saw its lead dwindle to one (17-16). Florida Southern responded with a 6-0 run to take a commanding 23-16 en route to another 25-19 set victory.
- The Moccasins trailed after the first point in the third set but scored three straight to take the lead and never trailed again. A pair of 4-0 runs would push the Mocs' lead to 18-12 and Florida Southern closed things out with a 3-0 run to make the final 25-18.
- Martin led the Moccasins with 13 kills, while Mattson and Buse Ene each had eight. Gabby fresh had 15 digs, while Ene added 10. Fresh also added four service aces and Tierra Porter led the Mocs with five blocks. Florida Southern hit .343 on the attack while VSU managed to hit just .165, and the Mocs tallied seven blocks to the Blazers' four.
HOW IT HAPPENED AGAINST NO. 12 WEST FLORIDA
- The Moccasins held the Argonauts to just .112 on the attack to help them snag a 25-19, 25-22, 25-20 victory over the nation's 12th ranked team. Florida Southern fell behind 4-0 in the first set, but slowly clawed its way back until it snagged an 8-7 lead. Trailing 10-8 just moments later, the Mocs went on a 5-1 run to jump in front by two (13-11). After falling behind again just minutes later, FSC scored three in a row to go up 16-14 and would never trail again. UWF got within two (21-19) in the late stages, but four-straight points from Southern put an end to any West Florida rally and gave the Mocs a 1-0 match lead.
- After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, the Moccasins saw their lead slip away as UWF came alive and took a 15-10 advantage midway through. However, Florida Southern responded with eight consecutive points to steal all the momentum and regain the advantage (18-15). Trailing by five (24-19) and facing set point, the Argos were able to score three in a row to make it 24-22, but Bethany Besancenez snuck a ball over the net that would land for a kill and give FSC a 25-22 second-set win.
- The third set was all Florida Southern as the Mocs largely dominated from start to finish. The Moccasins raced out to an early 6-2 lead and used a 5-0 run later on to grab a commanding 15-6 advantage. West Florida would close the gap to three in the late stages, but Florida Southern hung on for a 25-20 win to close out the match.
- Mattson finished with 18 kills and nine digs, while Ene, Martin, and Whitney Drost all had eight. Ene also led the Mocs in digs with 12, and Besancenez had 34 assists. The Moccasins outblocked the Argonauts 9-6.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 10-6 all-time against West Florida, including 7-1 in neutral-site contests. The Mocs have won four in a row against UWF. Southern also improved to 8-0 all-time against Valdosta State and has swept the Blazers in seven of those eight meetings.
- Mattson recorded her 1,500th career kill in the win over VSU to become just the fifth player in program history with 1,500 kills and 1,000 digs. She finished the day with 1,521 kills, putting her fifth in program history.
- Besancenez upped her career assists total to 4,900 and needs 830 to set a school record. She is on pace to become just the second player in school history with 5,000 career assists. She also has recorded 1,278 digs, good for ninth in program history.
- Florida Southern will take on West Georgia tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. to close out the weekend. The Mocs will then travel to Florida Tech (Oct. 26), Embry-Riddle (Oct. 27), Nova Southeastern (Nov. 2) and Palm Beach Atlantic (Nov. 3) before capping off the season with home contests against Rollins (Nov. 9) and Tampa (Nov. 10).