FSW Outlasts Broward in Five Set Marathon

Anna Leweling (Photo by Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com)
Anna Leweling (Photo by Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com)

DAVIE¸ Fla.- The Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers picked up a key non-conference win Saturday afternoon on the road at Broward, outlasting the Seahawks in a five set battle that included 53 ties and 19 lead changes. 

The first set was a good preview of what was to come the rest of the afternoon as the Bucs and Seahawks found themselves tied at 17 different junctions including 12-12, 15-15, and 18-18.  The first three point lead by either side came at 22-19 when Julia de Sa smashed a kill down the line and followed it up with an ace for the Bucs to get them to within three points of a first set victory.  But as was par for the course Saturday, the Seahawks scored the next three to tie the score back up at 22. Back to back big blocks for FSW from Amanda Mendes and Laura Ferrao and then Mendes and Kianie Cummings gave the Bucs set point and an attack into the net by Broward pushed them to a 25-22 win to take a 1-0 lead in the match.  De Sa and Anna Leweling combined for eight of the Bucs 10 kills in the set who hit just .188 as a team in the period. 

After another even start at 6-6 in the second, Broward went on an 11-4 run to open up what looked like an insurmountable lead at 17-9.  A service error gave the Bucs the ball back and in the blink of an eye, they drew even after three straight kills from Leweling and Lexi Hurtado made it a 20-20 game.  The teams continued to trade blows to 24-24, but two crucial FSW errors with the set on the line gave Broward a 26-24 win to even up the match at one set apiece.  The Bucs again struggled to put the ball away, hitting just .175 collectively in the set.  Leweling and Hurtado paced FSW with four kills each in the period.

The third was another nip and tuck battle with the set tied at 13 midway through.  Back to back FSW hitting errors gave Broward a two point lead, but again the Bucs came back to tie the score up, this time at 17 all.  The score remained tied at 21-21 and 22-22.  A stuff block from Mendes and Laura Ferrao pushed FSW ahead and a hitting error by the Seahawks gave them two cracks at set point with the score 24-22. Broward fought off one set point with a kill and then got their fourth block of the set to knot the score back up at 24.  Hurtado gave FSW another crack at it with a tip over the block from the back row to make it 25-24 and this time the Bucs closed as de Sa rifled an attack down the line for a 26-24 win to give the Purple and Aqua a 2-1 lead in the match.  The set featured nine ties and five lead changes. Both teams struggled offensively with FSW hitting .132 and Broward just a tick better at .139. 

The Bucs got off to a rough start in the fourth, falling behind 5-1 right off the bat, but bounced back to even up the score four points later at 5-5.  The score remained tied at 9 moments later when a 3-0 push by the Seahawks gave them a 12-9 advantage.  The Bucs continued to fight though, once again evening things up at 15 on an ace from Mendes.  From there, neither team led by more than one point as they played to a 24-24 tie late in the set.  Broward picked up a kill to give them their second set point, but Leweling answered with a blast of her own to tie things at 25.  An overpass by the Bucs set the Seahawks up for a smash at the net to give them another shot at the set and an FSW attack wide sealed their fate as Broward took it 27-25 to force a deciding fifth set.  The set was tied at 16 different junctions and the lead changed hands four times in the period. The Bucs hit a match low .029 in the set while Broward hit a match hit .345. 

The fifth started just how the doctor ordered it for FSW as the Bucs got a pair of kills from Mendes and another from Hurtado to push them out to a quick 4-1 start.  They couldn't hold the momentum though as Broward scored seven out of the next eight to flip the script and take a two point lead of their own at 7-5. Out of a timeout, a kill from Leweling got FSW back to within one and a block from Hurtado and Ferrao evened things at seven.  A knuckling ace from Leweling gave the Bucs an 8-7 lead at the crossover and a rip from Hurtado gave them a 9-7 lead and the momentum in the race to 15.  Two straight for Broward knotted things back up at nine, but kills from Leweling and Hurtado gave the Bucs their two point lead back at 11-9.  The Texas two step continued as it was the Seahawks turn for two straight to tie the score at 11 and the teams traded the next two to 12-12.  A crucial bad set by Broward gave the Bucs the lead back and an attack error by the Seahawks gave FSW two shots at match point.  A Buccaneer service error kept Broward alive, but the Bucs didn't waste any time from there as Marina Alonso found Leweling on the outside for a crosscourt smash to send the FSW bench into an eruption as the Purple and Aqua finished off the set 15-13 and the marathon match 3-2.

In the epitomy of a back and forth affair, the teams were tied 53 times and saw the lead change hands 19 times in the match.  Both teams posted side out percentages well above 55% on the afternoon with neither side getting the ball back less than 50% of the time in any single set. 

FSW hit just .154 in the match while Broward hit .232. The Bucs were led by a career high 17 kills from Lewling and 14 kills from Hurtado on the outside.  Mendes backed up her 16 kill effort Friday with 12 against the Seahawks, she also led FSW with three aces and four blocks in the win.  Alonso led the Bucs with 34 assists while Raquel Costa e Silva added nine off the bench.  Viktoria Ivanova ended the match with 19 digs while Alonso turned in a double-double with 10 digs to go along with her 34 assists. 

The Bucs improve to 8-4 with the victory while Broward drops to 8-4 on the year. 

FSW will now turn their sights to Suncoast Conference action where they will open up conference play at home against St. Petersburg on Tuesday at 6:00 in Suncoast Credit Union Arena.