Top Ranked Bucs Blast #10 Polk In Suncoast Opener

(Photo by Roy Allen)
(Photo by Roy Allen)
WINTER HAVEN, Fla.- The top ranked Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers began defense of their 2020 and 2021 Suncoast Conference Championships in style Tuesday night in Winter Haven, hammering the Polk State Eagles in a 3-0 sweep in an NJCAA Top 10 matchup.  
The Bucs block gave the 10th ranked Eagles fits early on in the first set as Julia Lawrenz and Roberta Purashaj were in on three stuffs in four points to give FSW an early 6-2 lead.  A rash of Polk attack errors allowed the Bucs to open things up midway through the set and after three straight kills from Barbara Koehler and Alondra Alarcon, it was all FSW, 16-4.  The Bucs and Eagles played even over the final 18 points, but it was too little, too late for Polk as FSW cruised to a 25-13 win to take a 1-0 lead in the match. 
In the second it was more of the same, but this time it was the multifaceted FSW attack that the Eagles had no answer for. Kills from Lawrenz, Koehler, and Maria Cecilia gave the Bucs a 12-7 lead midway through the set and in the blink of an eye it was 20-9 Bucs following an 8-1 run with Alarcon and Lawrenz at the service line. A big block from Lawrenz and Cecilia gave the Bucs set point and Cecilia put it away with a kill off the block to give FSW the set 25-12 and a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.  
Smelling blood in the water, the third was all Purple and Aqua.  The Bucs jumped out to an early 7-3 lead and never looked back.  Two more stuffs on the outside from Lawrenz and Cecilia had FSW in front 14-6 and a rocket off the right arm of Koehler moments later made it 18-9 Bucs.  Arianna Rossi's second ace of the set put a cherry on top of it for the Bucs as they took the set 25-14 to sweep the match 3-0.  
FSW hit an efficient .297 in the win while holding Polk to a -.031 mark, hampered by nine Buccaneer blocks. Koehler was on fire, finishing with 13 kills on 25 swings, good for a .480 hitting mark while Lawrenz had 7 kills on 9 swings out of the middle while also pacing the Bucs with 7 blocks.  Cecilia finished an all around solid match with 9 kills, a team high 13 digs, and 4 blocks while Purashaj led FSW with 33 assists in the win.  
#1 FSW remains unbeaten at 5-0 on the early season with their third straight 3-0 win over a top 10 ranked opponent while winning their Suncoast Conference opener for the fourth consecutive season. #10 Polk State falls to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in conference action in the defeat.  
Both teams will have a short turnaround as FSW and Polk head to Las Vegas on Wednesday to take part in the College of Southern Nevada Coyote Classic.  The Bucs will play twice Thursday, taking on the hosts at 3 PM before a matchup with Arizona Western later on at 7 PM.