Bucs Topple Titans in Dominating Road Effort

Photo by Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com
Photo by Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com
MELBOURNE, Fla.- The #2 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers put on a clinic Thursday night on the road at Eastern Florida State, sweeping the Titans by scores of 25-12, 25-15, 25-11 to earn their seventh straight win and improve to 10-2 on the year. 
The Bucs actually struggled right off the bat in the first set, falling behind 3-1 after four points, but they quickly recovered and dominated the game the rest of the night. An early 6-1 run after the slow start put them up 7-4 in the first and they stretched their lead to 15-9 midway through after a big block from Johnasia Carr and Barbara Koehler. A kill from Maria Petkova upped the FSW lead to double digits and a cross court rocket from Koehler finished the Titans off 25-12 to put the Bucs in front 1-0 in the match. Six different hitters had a kill in the first set for FSW while the Bucs hit .464 as a team in the period. 
FSW led from the get go in the second.  A pair of early aces from Petkova helped the Bucs open up a 6-1 lead to begin the set and they quickly cushioned their advantage to 13-4 midway through after an ace from Fiona Baker. The Bucs continued to pour it on, taking a 10 point lead on a perfect hookup from Yunju Lee to Riley Oglevie before closing the Titans out 25-15 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.  
Two days after earning NJCAA National Defensive Player of the Week honors, FSW's Deborah Ribeiro came off the bench Thursday, seeing her first action of the night in the third set for the Bucs.  What she did next looked like something out of a video game as the Bucs freshman was in on five consecutive blocks to begin the set, two of the solo variety, and after Eastern finally got a ball past her, Baker went her direction on the offensive end where she put away a kill to give FSW a 7-0 lead to start the set.  After Petkova crashed the Ribeiro show with a kill of her own, the two teamed up on a block on the right side to push the Bucs out to a 10-0 lead.  In the first 10 points of the set Ribeiro was responsible for seven FSW points, notching six blocks and a kill to stake the Bucs out to the big early lead. The Bucs put it in cruise control from there as Victoria Carioba and Maria Cecilia combined for back to back stuffs to extend the lead to 15-3 and later on FSW mercifully put the Titans out of their misery with a 25-11 win to finish off the 3-0 sweep. The Bucs finished with nine blocks as a team in the third set, holding Eastern Florida to a dreadful -.139 hitting mark in the period. 
For the second straight outing, all 16 FSW players on their roster made an appearance in the contest.  Nine different players had kills for the Bucs, led by Koehler's 12 and Petkova's 9.  Baker notched a double-double with 20 assists and 13 digs in the victory while Arianna Rossi had 10 digs and 3 aces for the Purple and Aqua. Despite playing just one set, Ribeiro led FSW with 7 blocks, including 3 solos in the win, helping the Bucs to a new program record 14 blocks in a three set match.  
FSW wins their seventh straight to improve to 10-2 overall and 5-0 in Suncoast Conference play with the win while Eastern Florida drops to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in league play.  
The Bucs will be back in action in a huge conference battle on Saturday when they host #14 Hillsborough in a matchup of the top two teams in Suncoast Conference play at 2:00 PM in Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers.