Bucs Sweep Regular Season Finale, Await At-Large Call

Yasso Amin (Photo by Linwood Ferguson)
Yasso Amin (Photo by Linwood Ferguson)

October 15, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers closed out their first regular season in program history in style on Tuesday in Suncoast Credit Union Arena, sweeping State College of Florida 3-0 for their fifth win in their past six matches.  The Bucs now await a decision from the state's volleyball committee as to whether they have done enough to earn one of the two at-large bids for the State Tournament, or if Tuesday was the final time they would take the court in 2019.

In front of a big home crowd, the Bucs came out on fire out of the gates.  An ace from Julia de Sa gave them an early 6-1 lead in the first and a 13-0 run with Viktoria Ivanova at the service line blew the game open to 19-4 later in the set.  All that was left to decide in the set was the final score and a kill from Yasso Amin followed by a Manatee hitting error wrapped things up with the Bucs taking a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-9 shellacking in the first. 

After taking an early 12-6 lead in the second, the Bucs hit a wall and allowed SCF to close back to within one at 15-14 midway through the set.  A Manatee service error gave FSW the ball back and they used it to go on a quick 5-1 run to cushion their lead to 20-15.  A pair of SCF hitting errors later in the set gave the Bucs set point and Anna Leweling took care of the rest, picking up FSW's eighth ace of the match to give the Purple and Aqua a 25-16 win to grab a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. 

The third was nip and tuck all the way through.  The score was tied 6-6 after 12 points and remained deadlocked after 12 more at 12 a side.  A kill from de Sa moments later pushed the Bucs in front by a pair, but that lead was short lived as SCF evened things back up at 17 with a kill of their own.  The Bucs looked like they were going to finish the Manatees off after taking a four point, 22-18 lead, late in the set, but SCF roared back, eventually tying the score at 22 to keep the big FSW crowd on the edge of their seats. Another de Sa kill followed by a smash from Kianie Cummings gave FSW two cracks at match point and after a sideout from SCF, the Bucs went back to de Sa who ripped her 12th kill of the night for a 25-23 win to give the Bucs a 3-0 sweep.

The Bucs weren't incredibly sharp in the win, hitting just .237 as a team and committing 10 service errors. De Sa paced the offense with 12 kills and a .500 hitting percentage while Leweling added right kills and Amin seven on 12 swings. Leweling and Ivanova each pulled up eight digs to lead FSW while Marina Alonso distributed 22 assists for the Bucs in the win. 

FSW improves to 13-7 overall with the victory and finishes their first Suncoast Conference schedule a respectable 3-3.  SCF falls to 2-19 overall and goes winless in six tries in conference play. 

The Bucs were hoping to find news of a Hillsborough win over St. Petersburg after their match Tuesday, but that did not happen, leaving FSW to play the waiting game for the next 10 days. The Bucs postseason hopes are now in the hands of the FCSAA Volleyball committee who will have to decide if FSW is one of the two most deserving teams in the state that did not automatically qualify for the FCSAA State Tournament.  FSW's 2019 resume is impressive, including two wins over NJCAA Top 15 ranked teams and all seven of their losses also coming to teams ranked in the nation's top 15.

FSW may try to add to their schedule over the next two weeks, but if not, will have their eyes squarely on October 25th, when the two at-large teams, and seeding for the FCSAA State Tournament will be announced.