Bucs Remain Red Hot, Win Program Record Eighth Straight 3-1 Over #14 Hillsborough

Arianna Rossi (Photo by Roy Allen)
Arianna Rossi (Photo by Roy Allen)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The #2 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers cruised to a 3-1 victory over #14 Hillborough Saturday afternoon in front of a big crowd in Suncoast Credit Union Arena, in the process, setting a new program record with their eighth straight win and taking a two game lead in the Suncoast Conference standings with eight games remaining on the slate.  
The Bucs got off to a good start in the first in a matchup of the two top teams in the Suncoast Conference standings. Early kills from Elissa Alcantara and Barbara Koehler had the Bucs up 6-2 to get things going and back to back aces from Yunju Lee midway through the set pushed FSW out to a 14-5 lead.  FSW took a 10 point lead on a kill out of the back row from Maria Petkova and finished the Hawks off on a kill from Alcantara to give them the set 25-11. The contrast on the stat sheet was as stark as the contrast on the scoreboard at the end of the first set as FSW hit .522 with 13 kills and just one error while Hillsborough hit -.120 with just six kills and nine errors in the period.  
The second set was another story. A pair of early blocks for the Hawks pushed Hillsborough out to a 9-7 lead to begin the set and they stretched their lead to three midway through at 14-11.  The Bucs remained a step behind the rest of the set as Hillsborough pushed their lead to five at 21-16 before evening the match at one with a 25-19 victory.  
Things were tight out of the intermission as both sides looked for a chink in their opponent's armor, playing to a 10-10 stalemate 20 points in.  It remained nip and tuck to 15-15 when Riley Oglevie finished off a pair of kills to put the Bucs in front 17-15 and they never looked back again. FSW didn't have to do much from there as three straight errors for the Hawks allowed the Bucs to cushion their lead and a service error from Hillsborough sunk their ship as FSW took the second 25-17 to go up 2-1 in the match. 
The Bucs carried their momentum straight into the fourth, using a strong serve from Koehler to jump out to a 5-0 lead to begin the set.  They held their five point advantage to 10-5 and then to 14-9 after an ace from Deborah Ribeiro. The Bucs started to open things up in the middle of the set as Lee connected with Johnasia Carr in the middle to make it 17-11 FSW and an ace from Petkova stretched it to 20-11 moments later.  The Bucs reached match point at 24-19 in another rocket from Petkova but needed a few tries to close thing out as Hillsborough made the score respectable before FSW finished them off 25-19 to take the match 3-1. 
FSW hit .271 in the win, again getting production from all over the floor. Eight different Bucs had kills in the victory, led by Petkova who finished with 13 and Maria Cecilia and Deborah Ribeiro who each had 8.  Fiona Baker notched her second straight double-double with 21 assists and 10 digs while Lee was right behind her with 19 assists in the win. Arianna Rossi finished with a match high 15 digs on the back line for the Bucs while Ribeiro paced the Bucs with three blocks.  
FSW wins their program record eighth straight to improve to 11-2 overall and 6-0 in Suncoast Conference play.  They now hold a full two game lead in the conference standings over Hillsborough, Miami Dade, Daytona State, and Indian River who are all tied with two losses in league play. The Hawks lose for just the second time in 2021, dropping to 7-2 overall and 5-2 in conference action. 
The Bucs will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Winter Haven to talk on Polk State in another Suncoast Conference showdown.