Bucs Win 20th Straight in Suncoast Conference Play

Elissa Alcantara (Photo by Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com)
Elissa Alcantara (Photo by Brad Young/BradYoungPhoto.com)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The #1 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers won their 20th consecutive Suncoast Conference game Thursday night in Suncoast Credit Union Arena, dispatching of the visiting Indian River Pioneers 3-0 to improve to 16-2 overall and 11-0 in conference play on the season. 
Things went as planned for the Bucs to begin the first as Elissa Alcantara registered a trio of early kills to stake FSW out to a 7-2 lead to begin the match.  They continued to hold a comfortable lead at the midway point of the set when Deborah Ribeiro and Maria Petkova combined on a block to make it a 13-8 game.  Indian River made a push to get back to within two later in the set, but the Bucs closed the period on a 9-4 run, finishing the Pioneers off with a Fiona Baker to Barbara Koehler hookup to give them the set 25-18 and a 1-0 lead in the match.  Alcantara led a 15 kill FSW attack in the first with six kills while Ribeiro had four on five swings for the Purple and Aqua.  
The second was quite a bit tighter early on.  The Bucs and Pioneers trade points through the first 20, playing to a 10-10 draw.  A kill from Alcantara got the Bucs the ball back and behind a strong serve from Arianna Rossi, FSW rolled off eight in a row to close the game open to 18-10 later in the set.  Indian River never threatened again as Petkova and Johnasia Carr went up high for a block to give FSW set point and the Bucs wasted little time in finishing the Pioneers off as Koehler again banged home the winner as FSW took the set 25-15 to go up 2-0 into the locker rooms at intermission.  The Bucs were solid on both offense and defense in the period, hitting .419 with 15 kills and just 2 errors while also siding out at a rate of 80% to take the 2-0 lead in the match.  
Both teams mixed up their lineups in the third and after a hot start for the Bucs, the Pioneers controlled the tempo, using an early 10-2 run to take a 10-6 lead to force an FSW timeout. Indian River stretched their lead to five at the midway point of the set before FSW began their climb back. Carr bounced a ball in the middle of the Indian River defense to start the Bucs on a 6-1 run to erase the Pioneer lead and knot the score at 16. The teams split the next eight points as the score remained tied at 20 when the Bucs first triple block of the season from Carr, Alcantara, and Riley Oglevie started a 3-0 run to give them a 23-20 lead late in the set.  Indian River gave it one last push, getting back to within one at 24-23, but Alcantara capped a big night with her 13th kill of the match to seal the set 25-23 and the win 3-0 for the Bucs. 
The Bucs hit .265 as a team in the win, led by Alcantara who hammered home a season high 13 kills and also chipped in 3 blocks for the Purple and Aqua. Ribeiro finished with 7 kills on just 11 swings in two sets played and Carr had 6 kills and a team best 4 blocks for FSW.  Baker dished out a match high 25 assists in the victory while Rossi led the Bucs with 13 digs on the backline. 
The win extends the Bucs program record winning streak to 13 games as they move to 16-2 overall and 11-0 in Suncoast Conference play on the season. It is also the 20th straight conference victory for FSW dating all the way back to the 2019 season.  Indian River drops to 7-8 overall and 6-5 in league play with the defeat, but are comfortably inside the FCSAA State Tournament picture which would bring them back to Suncoast Credit Union Arena early next month. 
FSW continues a busy week on Saturday when they travel across the state to Daytona State where they will take on the 19th ranked Falcons in a matinee affair on the East Coast.