Volleyball Falls to USF, 3-1
Saturday, August 29, 2009 | by Carl Bleich

CORAL GABLES, Fla - The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s volleyball squad dropped its second consecutive match of the Hurricane Invitational at the James L. Knight Sports Complex in Coral Gables, Fla on Saturday morning.

The Eagles lost to the University of South Florida 3-1 (26-24, 24-26, 25-13, 28-26) to drop to 0-2 on the season. FGCU will conclude its portion of the tournament this afternoon against Prairie View A&M at 5 p.m.

FGCU never led in the first set but did tie the Bulls on four separate occasions. The Eagles trailed 17-11 before coming back to tie the score at 24 apiece. A kill from Jarka Havlickova put the Bulls up 25-24 and the Bulls captured the first set 26-24 after a hitting error by FGCU junior Emma Racila (Fort Myers, Fla.).

The Eagles won their first set of the season with a 26-24 victory in the second set. USF (2-0) had five set point chances as they led 24-19 but the Eagles won seven consecutive points to close out the Bulls. Sophomore Anna Wagner (Lincoln, Neb.) had two kills during the last seven points while Racila and senior Ashley Yance (Fort Myers, Fla.) each had one. The set ended on consecutive hitting errors by USF. The Eagles’ hitting percentage was .276 in the second set compared to USF’s .132.

FGCU carried its momentum from the second set into the third as it took a 3-0 lead behind an ace from junior Jelena Simic (Lazarevec, Serbia) and a kill from junior Jacqueline Cowden (Danville, Calif.). Things did not go well for the Eagles from there as the Bulls went on an 18-7 run and never looked back to claim the third set 25-13. USF’s hitting percentage was .440 in the third set compared to FGCU’s .032.

The final set was arguably the most competitive as there were 18 ties and 13 lead changes before USF finally clinched the match with a 28-26 fourth set victory. The Eagles set points leading 25-24 and 26-25 but were unable to put the Bulls away. USF won the set’s final three points to win the match.

Racila had a game-high 20 kills for FGCU while Simic finished with nine and Cowden added six of her own. Senior Chandra Lefever (Fort Morgan, Colo.) racked up a game-high 36 assists for the Eagles. Sophomore Holly Youngquist (Fort Myers, Fla.) had a game-high 17 digs.

FGCU’s hitting percentage for the match was .132 compared to USF’s .190.

FGCU will take on Prairie View A&M today at 5 p.m. in the final game of the tournament hosted by the University of Miami.