FORT MYERS, Fla.- In their first home match in program history, the Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers took no mercy on visiting Ave Maria Monday night in front of a raucous crowd at Suncoast Credit Union Arena, blanking the Gyrenes 3-0 in exhibition action to close out their 2019 preseason schedule.
Just hours after the new floor at Suncoast Credit Union Arena was unveiled as Crowther Court, thanks to a generous donation from Southwest Florida's Crowther Roofing, the Bucs christened the floor with an early 10-3 run against Ave Maria to open up a 12-5 lead midway through the first set of action. FSW never looked back, eventually rolling off the final five points of the set to finish off a 25-13 win to take a 1-0 lead in the match. FSW came out on fire statistically, hitting .414 as a team and getting three kills from Kianie Cummings and four a piece from Amanda Mendes and Anna Leweling in the set.
It was a nearly identical start to the second set as FSW got out to a 12-6 advantage at the halfway point. A rash of errors from the Gyrenes and a pair of aces from Lexi Hurtado pushed the Bucs to the brink of a 2-0 lead and the Bucs finished Ave off by another 25-13 count to take a two sets to none lead heading into the intermission. The FSW block and defense held Ave Maria to a -.182 hitting percentage in the second while getting three more kills from Mendes to help take the 2-0 lead to the break.
The third set was a different story as the two teams split the first 24 points to a 12-12 draw halfway home. A pair of kills from the hometown girl Hannah Pabon broke the deadlock and put FSW back in front and it would never be close again. A big block from Laura Ferrao and Kellen Valentim highlighted a furious finish by the Bucs to give them a 25-15 win to finish off the 3-0 sweep. FSW hit .600 in the set, getting a combined 10 kills and just one error from Julia de Sa, Ferrao, and Pabon to close things out in the third.
FSW hit .360 as a team in the win while holding Ave Maria to a -.113 mark. Nine different players recorded multiple kills in the victory including seven by Mendes and six from Leweling to lead the squad. Marina Alonso dished out a match best 13 assists while libero Viktoria Ivanova paced the Bucs with nine digs.
The win wraps up the preseason for FSW who will now turn their sights to the start of the regular season where they will open their 2019 campaign in Ocala on Friday where they will take on Pasco-Hernando and Florida Gateway before ramping things up on Saturday when they will see 2018 National Finalist Miami Dade and perennial power Central Florida.