Posted: Sep 13, 2022
FORT MYERS, Fla.- Nine different players had a kill and eight different players registered an ace for the #1 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers Tuesday night as the Bucs swept the visiting Santa Fe Saints 3-0 in their home conference opener in Suncoast Credit Union Arena.
Santa Fe kept pace with the Bucs early in the first until a kill from Barbara Koehler and back to back aces from Alondra Alarcon allowed FSW to push out to a five point lead at 9-4. An ace from Koehler moments later upped the Bucs lead to 14-8 and the Saints never threatened again. FSW cushioned their lead to as many as eight before finishing the Saints off 25-20 to go ahead 1-0 in the match.
In the second the Bucs raced out to a 5-1 lead and never looked back. An 8-0 run with Roberta Purashaj at the service line, highlighted by a pair of kills from Koehler and a big stuff from Koehler and Izzy Collier, pushed the FSW lead all the way to 14-2 and Purashaj's serve continued to give the Saints trouble later on in the set as she finished the period with two straight aces to close out Santa Fe 25-10 to give the Bucs a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The Bucs tweaked their lineup to start the third and Santa Fe took advantage, staying right with FSW and even taking an 11-10 lead midway through the set. A Saint service error followed by an ace from Anica Bobic got the Bucs back on track and a crosscourt slam moments later from Victoria Zibecchi pushed FSW out in front 19-15. The teams traded the next 10 points to 24-20 before Santa Fe fought off two match points, but in the end, the Bucs went to the FCSAA State Player of the Week for the winner and Koehler delivered with a tip over the block to take the set 25-22 and the match 3-0.
It wasn't a particularly clean effort by the Bucs despite the sweep as they committed 19 hitting errors and managed just a .175 hitting percentage, their second lowest of the season. Nine different Bucs picked up kills in the win led by Koehler with 9 and 7 from Zibecchi in just two sets off the FSW bench. One positive was at the service line where FSW dialed up a program record 13 aces with eight different players earning at least one. Alarcon finished with 4 while Koehler and Purashaj each had a pair. Koehler and Arianna Rossi each collected a dozen digs in the victory while Koehler was in on three of FSW's five blocks on the night.
FSW remains unbeaten at 10-0 on the season with the win and picks up their second win in as many tries in Suncoast Conference action. Santa Fe falls to 4-3 overall and 0-2 in league play with the loss.
The win sets up a huge matchup in Suncoast Credit Union Arena on Thursday as the last two undefeated teams in the NJCAA Division I ranks match up when #15 Daytona State comes to Fort Myers to take on the top ranked Bucs in a 6 PM first serve.