LAS CRUCES, N.M., - FGCU fell 3-1 (25-16, 25-27, 2-18, 25-21) to Houston in the second match of the Hotel Encanto Volleyball Classic hosted by New Mexico State on Friday. The Eagles fall to 1-4 while the Cougars improve to 3-1.
"I was encouraged by what I saw,” said Head Coach Dave Nichols. “Houston is a very physical team and these matches will have us prepared for conference. Roberta played phenomenal today. We are still learning some of the new things that I am trying to put in, but this group is grasping everything and I am very excited about this team."
Houston raced to an 8-1 lead in game one before the Eagles cut the lead to 9-5. The Cougars would hold FGCU to nine kills and a .067 attack percentage while hitting .320 in the 25-16 win.
In game two, Houston picked up the early 6-2 lead before FGCU would even the match at 14 all. The Eagles took their first lead at 18-17. The two teams went back and forth until FGCU fought off game point at 25-24 and scored the last three to take game two 27-25.
FGCU took a slim early lead in the third game, and held on until the Cougars took their first lead at 14-13. The two exchanged sideouts until Houston took a 19-17 lead. Houston would go on to score six of the next seven to win game three 25-18 and take a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth game, Houston went on a 6-1 run to take a 10-6 lead. They would build their lead to 19-12 before a run by the Eagles. FGCU scored four straight behind the serving of Ana Kokanovic to trim the Houston lead to 19-16. The Cougars would regain the momentum and hold on for a 25-20 win in the fourth game.
Justine Farmer led a balanced Houston offense with 17 kills while Lucy Charuk added 13. Amanda Carson paced Houston with 19 digs.
Ana Kokanovic picked up 15 kills and 12 digs in the match for her first double double of the season and a pair of aces. Roberta Santos added seven kills and eight digs to go with 36 assists.
The Eagles conclude the tournament tomorrow at 12:00 pm when they face Utah in the Atlantic Sun Match of the Week.