Posted: Oct 02, 2021
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The #1 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers took care of business Saturday afternoon at home in Suncoast Credit Union Arena, sweeping the visiting Santa Fe Saints 3-0 behind an 11 kill effort from freshman Maria Cecilia.
The first set was close early on as the Bucs and the Saints felt each other out in just their second meeting all time. It was a 10-10 game at the 20 point mark when the Bucs went on a 7-1 run, highlighted by a pair of kills from Barbara Koehler and a big block from Deborah Ribeiro and Maria Cecilia to open up a 17-11 lead for the home squad. FSW was never threatened again as they stretched their lead to 22-13 on a kill from Maria Petkova before finishing off the Saints 25-17 on a bullet from Riley Oglevie to give them a 1-0 lead in the match. The Bucs finished with 15 kills in the set and hit .324 as a team in the period.
The Bucs got off to a slow start in the second, but a quick 5-1 run changed that path as they took a 9-5 lead. Santa Fe went on a run of their own to get it back to a one point game at 10-9 as the set approached the midway point. That's when things turned back in the direction of the Bucs as with Fiona Baker at the service line, FSW rolled off 11 points in a row, turning a 10-9 game into a 21-9 game in the blink of an eye. Koehler and Victoria Carioba got the Bucs to set point with a big block on the right side before Cecilia sealed the win with a shot down the line for her sixth kill of the period to give the Bucs the set 25-13 and a 2-0 lead in the match.
FSW jumped out to a big early lead in the third out of the intermission, taking a 9-2 advantage to get things going. The Bucs started working in some players off their bench and lost their momentum as Santa Fe stormed back to erase the FSW lead and to take a 15-14 lead of their own midway through. It was back and forth from there as the block of Santa Fe gave the Bucs fits , staying right in the pocket of the Nation's top ranked team as the two went to the home stretch knotted at 20. Maiana Coehlo found Elissa Alcantara for a kill to break the tie, but Santa Fe answered right back and the game remained tied moments later at 23. Another kill from Alcantara pushed FSW to match point and the Bucs took care of it right away as Koehler blasted one down the line to give FSW the 25-23 win and a 3-0 victory in the match.
The Bucs finished with 47 kills in the win, their most in a three set match this season. Cecilia led the way with 11 while Koehler had 7 and paced FSW with 11 digs. Baker had a match high 26 assists for the Bucs and six different players were in on blocks in the victory for the Purple and Aqua.
The win is the 11th in a row for FSW who improves to 14-2 overall and 9-0 in Suncoast Conference play. Santa Fe is headed in the other direction, dropping their eighth straight to fall to 2-10 overall and 1-8 in conference action.
The victory sets up a huge showdown for the Bucs on Tuesday as they travel across Alligator Alley to take on #5 Miami Dade in a big Suncoast Conference matchup between the league's top two teams.