Bucs Attack Too Much For #14 Hillsborough

Maria Cecilia (Photo by Roy Allen)
Maria Cecilia (Photo by Roy Allen)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The #1 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers have had the top offensive attack in the Suncoast Conference through the first half of the 2022 season and Thursday night they flexed their muscles and continued that trend, pounding home 51 kills from seven different players in a 3-0 sweep of #14 Hillsborough to improve to 13-0 on the year.  
It was a back and forth battle early between the Bucs and Hawks, the last Suncoast Conference team to beat FSW, with the first set deadlocked at 8 after 16 points.  Back to back kills from Maria Cecilia got FSW rolling and the Bucs went on a 7-2 run over the next nine points to open up at 15-10 lead midway through the set. The Bucs continued to lead it by five later in the set and looked like they were going to have smooth sailing to taking the first set, but Hillsborough roared back with five straight points to knot the score at 18.  Barbara Koehler hammered home a kill out of a timeout to give the Bucs the lead back and they never trailed again as they stepped on the gas once more, getting a big block from Cecilia and Izzy Collier to give them set point and Cecilia put the set away with a cross court rip to give FSW the first 25-20 to go ahead 1-0 in the match.  
FSW raced out to a 5-1 lead to start the second, but the Hawks answered back with an early run of their own to once again draw the score even at 8-8 at the 16 point mark for the second straight period.  Maiana Coelho connected with Alondra Alarcon moments later to put the Bucs back on top and Victoria Zibecchi found the corner with an attack to put the Bucs up 18-16 later in the set.  The Bucs went up three at 23-20 late in the second and looked like they were on their way to a 2-0 lead, but Hillsborough had other ideas.  The Hawks scored three straight to knot the score at 23 and took a 25-24 lead after an FSW attack error to give themselves a chance at the set.  Julia Lawrenz got a big kill out of the middle to keep the Bucs alive and the two went back and forth to a 28-28 deadlock in extra points.  Cecilia and Collier combined on a big block to give FSW their seventh crack at set point and a Hillsborough attack wide sealed the Hawks fate as the Bucs took the set 30-28 to go ahead 2-0 in the match.  
For the third straight set, the Bucs and Hawks found themselves in a stalemate after 16 points in the third with the score tied at 8-8.  After trading the next two points to 9-9, a Hillsborough service error gave the Bucs a one point advantage and they used the newfound momentum to go on a 7-0 run highlighted by three kills and a block from Lawrenz to open up a 16-9 lead. The hole was too much to dig out of for Hillsborough as FSW extended their lead to ten as Roberta Purashaj fed Zibecchi for a kill and Christina Pratcher got her second kill in four points to put a bow on it for the Bucs as they took the set 25-15 to sweep the match 3-0.  
The Bucs banged home 51 kills in the match including 20 in the marathon second set, hitting .246 as a team in the win.  Conversely FSW held Hillsborough to just 29 kills and a .110 hitting mark on the night.  Koehler led the Bucs with 12 kills while Lawrenz had 10 and hit .500 while leading FSW with 4 blocks in the win.  Alarcon notched her fourth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 11 digs while handling a season high 35 receptions without an error.  Purashaj finished with a team best 27 assists while Coelho had 11 and Arianna Rossi patrolled the back line for the Bucs with a match high 16 digs.  
FSW wins their 13th straight to open the 2022 season as they move to 13-0 overall and 5-0 in Suncoast Conference play.  Hillsborough drops to 11-5 overall and 2-3 in league play with the defeat.  
The Bucs will now turn their attention to the upstart Eastern Florida State Titans who they will meet Saturday on the road in Melbourne.  Eastern Florida heads into the matchup at 12-3, already marking their most wins in a season since the 2016 campaign.