FSW Earns Pair of Signature Early Season Wins

Kellen Valentim, Mailys Silvestre, Giovanna Bello (Photo by Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com)
Kellen Valentim, Mailys Silvestre, Giovanna Bello (Photo by Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers earned the best two wins in their young program history on Tuesday night in Suncoast Credit Union Arena, downing previously undefeated Broward 3-1 and backing that up with a 3-1 victory over #15 Central Florida, their first win over an NJCAA Division I ranked opponent in program history. 
The first set between the Bucs and Broward was a good one, with neither team leading by more than two points throughout the entirety of the period.  The set featured 13 ties, including a 23-23 mark late, before FSW got a kill from Amanda Mendes and an ace from Julia de Sa to finish things off and give the Bucs a 25-23 win in the opening period. 
FSW looked well on their way to taking a 2-0 lead in the match as they jumped ahead 10-6 in the second, but a cold stretch allowed Broward to erase their deficit and eventually take a two point lead of their own at 15-13.  Tied at 17 later on, the Purple and Aqua hit another rut as the Seahawks outraced them to the finish line, taking the second 25-20 to even the match at a set a piece.  
Led by their outside hitters, the Bucs came out swinging in the third and took a 13-9 lead midway through the period after de Sa's third ace of the match. Broward fought back, tying the score at 18, where the two would trade points once again to 23-23. But just like the first, the Bucs wanted it just a little bit more, using a Seahawk service error and a solo block by de Sa to finish off the set 25-23 to grab a 2-1 lead in the match. 
The Bucs played catch up most of the fourth, falling behind 6-3 and later 13-10 as Broward looked to keep the match alive. A quick 3-0 run tied things up, but a 3-0 run of their own pushed the Seahawks back in front later in the set at 23-20. Raquel Costa e Silva found de Sa on the outside to get the Bucs back to within two, but after trading points, Broward had set point with the score 24-22. FSW fought off two set points and that is where the fun began.  With the score 24-24, the teams went back and forth in extra time, knotting up at 25, 26, 27, and 28.  A kill from Hurtado off the Broward block made it 29-28 Bucs and FSW finished off the Seahawks on a ball handling error to take the set 30-28 and the match 3-1 to hand Broward their first loss of the 2019 season.  
De Sa filled the stat sheet up in nearly every category, leading the Bucs with 15 kills, 12 digs, seven blocks, and four aces in the win.  Hurtado came up big off the FSW bench, finishing with 11 kills on 16 swings without a single error to hit .688 in the match. Marina Alonso led the Bucs with 31 assists while Viktoria Ivanova paced the back row with 19 digs. The Bucs ended the match with 16 blocks as a team, getting the aforementioned seven by de Sa,  six from Laura Ferrao, and five from Kianie Cummings.  
Things didn't get any easier for the Bucs in their second match of the day as they took on 7-1 and 15th ranked Central Florida who blanked them 3-0 on opening weekend of the 2019 campaign.  
Carrying the momentum of their game one win into their match with the Patriots, FSW looked sharp early, jumping out to a 9-4 and 15-9 lead on Central Florida.  But the young Bucs would cough up the lead, watching as Central came back to tie things at 18 and eventually take a 21-20 lead deep in the set.  A rare kill from Alonso evened things up for FSW before a solo bock and a kill from Cummings put them up 23-21 in the first.  A kill from Mendes gave FSW set point and an ace from Ivanova finished things off as the Bucs took the set 25-22 to grab a 1-0 lead in the match.  
The second was highly contested early on with Central Florida holding a 9-8 lead on the Bucs.  Things went down hill from there for the Bucs though as the Patriots went on a 7-3 run to open up a 16-11 lead and then never looked back, taking the set 25-18 to even things up at one at the intermission. 
The Bucs turned up the intensity at the net in the third, getting big blocks from Hurtado and Cummings and then Cummings and Ferrao to get them out to a 9-5 lead.  But as happened in the first, Central stormed back, evening up the score at 15 at which point the Bucs and Patriots traded the next six points to make it 18-18 deep in the set.  Three straight errors by Central Florida gave the Bucs the lead back and this time they didn't give it up, eventually wrapping up a 25-21 win on yet another kill by de Sa to give themselves a 2-1 lead in the contest.  
The tight play continued in the fourth as the Bucs and Patriots pushed out to a 10-10 deadlock after 20 points. It remained nip and tuck to 17-17 when a Central Florida service error pushed FSW back in front by a point.  With de Sa at the service line, the Bucs made their final push, using a pair of Patriot errors and a pair of kills of their own to open up a 23-18 lead with the finish line in sight.  An Alonso to Hurtado hook up gave FSW five cracks at match point, but they would only need two, as Mendes ripped a sharp cross off the Patriot block to send Suncoast Arena into a frenzy and give the Bucs a 25-20 win to take the match 3-1. 
It was a defensive struggle with both teams hitting under .200, FSW leading the way at .193 and Central Florida at just .119 as they played 14 different players looking for the right combination.  De Sa finished off her big day with 12 more kills to lead the Bucs, Hurtado chipped in nine and Mendes seven in the win.  Alonso picked up 25 of the Bucs' 30 assists on the night while Ivanova scooped up 16 digs for FSW in the victory.  FSW held a decisive advantage in the blocking compartment for the second straight match, finishing with 16 total stuffs to just five for the Patriots.  Leading that charge for the Bucs was Cummings and Ferrao in the middle who each had eight rejections, including two solos each.  
The victories snap a three game losing streak for the Bucs, prolonged by three cancelled contests from Hurricane Dorian over the past 11 days. FSW improves to 4-3 on the year while earning their second victory over a ranked team this season. 
The Bucs are back in action on Friday when they make the long drive to Jacksonville where they will take on the host FSCJ Blue Wave on Friday at 6:30 PM followed by contests against Eastern Florida and Richard Bland to wrap up a busy week.