Petkova's Big Day Leads #1 FSW Past Santa Fe

Maria Petkova (Photo by Brad Yount/
Maria Petkova (Photo by Brad Yount/
GAINESVILLE, Fla.- In their first match in program history ranked as the #1 team in the country, the Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers raced past the Santa Fe Saints 3-0 Saturday afternoon in Gainesville to improve to 7-0 in Suncoast Conference play. In the win, outside hitter Maria Petkova shined, finishing with 15 kills and hitting .519, marking the most kills in a three set match from an FSW outside in program history. 
To the chagrin of FSW Head Coach Thais Baziquetto-Allen, her Bucs got off to another slow start on the road on Saturday, falling behind 6-1 and 9-5 against a Santa Fe club that has taken their licks this season. A Saints service error gave the Bucs the ball back and they started their charge back.  A 4-0 run with Arianna Rossi at the service line evened things up and moments later a 9-0 FSW run highlighted by three aces from Fiona Baker pushed the Bucs out in front 20-11.  They went on to finish off the Saints 25-14, putting an exclamation point on a 20-5 run to close the set and to take a 1-0 lead in the match. 
The second set was close early on before a pair of kills from Maria Petkova midway through put them in front by a pair 10-8. They continued to push, opening up a seven point lead on a kill from Barbara Koehler before closing out Santa Fe 25-17 on Petkova's fifth kill of the set to give the Bucs a 2-0 lead in the match.  
The Bucs jumped out to a big early lead in the third behind some magic from Petkova at the service line and they never looked back.  The Bucs led 14-9 midway through the set and stretched their lead to as many as nine before another rocket from Petkova ended the Saints afternoon 25-15 to complete the sweep for the Purple and Aqua.  
Petkova's big afternoon overshadowed an otherwise pedestrian effort offensively for FSW.  She finished with 15 kills and just one error, hitting .519 in the match while no other Buc had more than four kills in the win.  Baker led the Bucs with 14 assists and also dialed up four aces while Rossi pulled up 16 digs to lead FSW on the backline. Deborah Riberio had a team high four blocks for FSW while Riley Oglevie chipped in three.  
FSW wins their ninth straight to move to 12-2 on the year and remain unbeaten in Suncoast Conference play at 7-0.  Santa Fe's struggled continue as they fall to 2-7 overall and 1-6 in league play.  
The Bucs are back in action on Thursday at home against State College of Florida.  The Bucs and Manatees will get things underway at 6:00 PM at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers.