FSW Dominates #9 Central Wyoming, #1 Iowa Western to Remain Unbeaten

Maiana Coehlo (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/CaptivePhotons.com)
Maiana Coehlo (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/CaptivePhotons.com)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The #4 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers wrapped up the 2022 Battle at the Beach Tournament with a pair of signature early season wins on Saturday, first sweeping #9 Central Wyoming 3-0 before hammering the two time defending National Champion and #1 ranked Iowa Western Reivers 3-0 in their nightcap to improve to 4-0 on the year.   

The Bucs first task of the day was a Top 10 matchup with #9 Central Wyoming.  After struggling on the block on day one of the tournament, it was obvious that net play was a focus for Saturday's matches as the Bucs got a big block on the first point of the match and another three points later to help them get out to a quick 7-3 lead.  Midway through the period they continued to keep their distance from the Rustlers at 13-8, but a 6-2 run by Central Wyoming made it a one point game at 15-14 moments later.  A second ball kill from Roberta Purashaj got FSW back on track and the Bucs went on to score 10 of the final 13 points of the set to take it 25-17 to go up 1-0 in the match. The Bucs offense was on fire in the period, finishing with 15 kills and 0 errors on 28 swings, good for a cool .536 hitting percentage.   

FSW got off to another good start in the second, grabbing an 8-3 lead to get things going and quickly extended the lead to 17-7 on a huge swing from Barbara Koehler out of the back row. Central Wyoming made a push late in the period, but it was too little too late as Purashaj found Alondra Alarcon for a cross court rip to seal it for FSW 25-19 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.   

For the third straight set it was 7-3 Bucs at the 10 point mark and also for the third straight period, FSW was in control as the set hit the midway point at 13-8. A big block from Julia Lawrenz and Maria Cecilia cushioned the Bucs lead to 16-9 four points later and a blast from Izzy Collier out of the middle but the bow on it for the Purple and Aqua as they took the set 25-19 and the match 3-0.  

The two teams offenses were in different parts of the spectrum in the contest as FSW finished hitting .295 as a team while Central Wyoming hit -.010.  Koehler and Cecilia combined for 21 kills for FSW while Collier had 7 kills on 9 swing and was also in on 4 blocks. Purashaj led the Bucs with 29 assists and Alarcon had a team best 11 digs in the win.   


The Bucs second matchup of the day was one they had circled on their calendar since their 2022 schedule came out as they went toe to toe with the two-time defending National Champion and #1 ranked Iowa Western Reivers.  To put it mildly, the matchup didn't live up to the billing.   

After trading the first four points of the first set, FSW went on a 5-1 run highlighted by back to back kills from Julia Lawrenz to open up a 7-3 lead and they never looked back.  The Bucs rolled off 10 in a row midway through the set to take a 17-7 lead as the Iowa Western defense had no answer for FSW's multifaceted attack. An ace from Koehler gave the Bucs set point and Cecilia skied high for a kill to finish it off as FSW pummeled the Reivers 25-11 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.   

The second was more of the same as Jada Coleman had a stand at the service line early on to get the Bucs out to a 9-3 lead and back to back blocks from Lawrenz and Cecilia upped their advantage to 12-5 midway through.  A rip from Alondra Alarcon put the Bucs up 10 at 19-9 later on and for the second straight set Cecilia put it on ice with a kill to give FSW the set 25-12 to go up 2-0.   

With big mo on their side, the Bucs raced out to a 6-1 lead to start the third and it was never close again.  Back to back blasts from Alarcon cushioned the Bucs lead to double digits at 14-4 and moments later a kill from Collier made it 20-8 FSW. The Bucs didn't let off the gas, finishing off the Reivers 25-12 to close out a 3-0 sweep of the defending champs.   

The final stat sheet showed the stark contrast that the match featured as the Bucs hit a season high .469, the second highest mark in program history, while holding Iowa Western to a -.082 hitting percentage.  Cecilia continued her strong early season play with a 10 kill, 11 dig double-double while Alarcon led FSW with a team high 13 kills.  Koehler was nearly automatic with the ball on her right hand, hammering home 12 kills on 18 swings while Lawrenz was equally as efficient with 8 kills on 10 swings.  Purashaj quarterbacked the offense with 65% of her sets going for 42 FSW kills.   


FSW finishes the tournament a perfect 4-0 with three wins over Top 20 ranked opponents.  They share the defacto tournament championship with Miami Dade who also was 4-0 on the weekend.  

The Bucs will have a 10 day layoff before seeing action again on September 6th when they travel to Winter Haven to take on #15 Polk State in their 2022 Suncoast Conference opener.