Bucs Ace Way To Win Over #13 Hillsborough

Maiana Coelho (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/CaptivePhotons.com)
Maiana Coelho (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/CaptivePhotons.com)
TAMPA, Fla.- The #2 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers used a strong serve and a relentless offensive attack to bounce back from a first set loss to down the #13 Hillsborough Hawks 3-1 on the road Saturday afternoon in Tampa.  The Bucs dialed up a program record 18 aces in the win including 7 from Maria Cecilia who set a program individual single game record as well in the victory. 
It was a good game early on between the Bucs and the Hawks as the two found themselves deadlocked at 10 after 20 points of action. It continued to be a seesaw battle as FSW and Hillsborough took turns with the lead but neither could gain an edge as they remained tied at 17 as the set started closing in on the end.  An ace from Arianna Rossi followed by a Hillsborough hitting error and a kill from Barbara Koehler gave the Bucs their largest lead of the set at 20-17, but they couldn't hold the momentum as the Hawks stormed back to tie the score at 20 before back to back FSW miscues made it 22-20 Hillsborough. The Bucs got back to even at 22-22 before the Hawks picked up a pair of kills to give them two cracks at set point in the first.  The Bucs fought off the first one, but a serve into the net foiled their second attempt as Hillsborough took the set 25-23 to take a 1-0 lead in the match. 
The Bucs looked like they were in trouble as Hillsborough raced out to a 9-4 lead in the second and then stretched it to 17-11 later in the set.  An FSW timeout followed by a block from Izzy Collier and Alondra Alarcon got the Bucs back on track and started an almost unbelievable run for the Purple and Aqua for the rest of the match. The stuff started a 6-0 run for the Bucs, highlighted by two more blocks from Alarcon to draw back even at 17-17 and after a Hillsborough sideout, the Bucs continued their push as Maria Cecilia dialed up four aces in five points to put FSW up 23-18 before Maiana Coelho hooked up with Julia Lawrenz twice in the middle to close things out as the Bucs scored 14 of the final 17 points of the second to take it 25-20 and even the match at one set a piece. 
Three straight kills from Lawrenz early in the third pushed FSW out to a quick 9-3 lead and then never looked back. Back to back aces from Jada Coleman midway through made it 15-6 Bucs and they took a double digit lead at 19-9 on an ace from Victoria Zibecchi. A kill from Alarcon on the outside gave the Bucs set point in the third and a ball handling error by the Hawks sealed their fate as FSW took the set 25-11 to go up 2-1 in the match.  
Hillsborough looked like they were going to make a run at pushing it to five as they played even with the Bucs through 12 points in the fourth before grabbing a 7-6 lead on a block.  FSW quickly picked up a sideout to even the score back up and with Zibecchi at the service line, the Bucs scored the next seven points, taking a 14-7 lead to just about put things out of reach for the Hawks.  When it wasn't their serve giving the Hawks fits, the FSW was clicking on all cylinders in the fourth as three consecutive kills from Lawrenz, Koehler, and Alarcon stretched their lead to 19-10 before three more aces from Cecilia ballooned the lead to 22-10.  The Bucs finished things off in style as Lawrenz and Zibecchi combined on a big block on the outside to put an exclamation point on a 25-11 win in the fourth and a 3-1 win of the match. 
After the relatively slow start, the Bucs finished the match outscoring Hillsborough 64-25 over the final two and half sets.  
The story for FSW was their serve as the Bucs finished with a program record shattering 18 aces in the win including 7 from Cecilia which also set a new FSW all-time mark.  Offensively the Bucs finished the match hitting .339 as a team including posting a .565 mark over the final two periods.  Koehler led FSW with 18 kills in the win while Lawrenz was dialed in for the second straight match with 10 kills on 17 swings, good for a .588 hitting percentage.  Roberta Purashaj led the Bucs with 27 assists in the win, but it was Coelho who put up the eye popping number on the final stat sheet as she finished with 17 assists on 22 sets for FSW, connecting with her hitters at a rate of .773.  Lawrenz, Collier, and Alarcon each had three blocks including a solo stuff for the Purple and Aqua while Alarcon led FSW with 12 digs in the victory. 
The win pushes the 2nd ranked Bucs to 17-1 overall and 9-1 in Suncoast Conference play on the season.  It is their ninth win over a Top 15 ranked team this season.  Hillsborough falls to 14-7 overall and 5-5 in conference action with the defeat.  
The Bucs return home for the first time in nearly a month on Thursday when they take on Eastern Florida State in Fort Myers.  With the FSW campus and Suncoast Credit Union Arena still being used for emergency workers following Hurricane Ian, the Bucs and Titans will square off at Alico Arena on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University Thursday with first serve scheduled for 6:00.