ORLANDO, Fla., - The FGCU volleyball team stepped out of conference to face in state rival UCF for the first time in program history. The Eagles traveled to Orlando and came back with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-18, 24-26, 25-18) win over the Knights, their sixth consecutive win and 12th in the last 13 matches. The Eagles improve to 13-6 overall while UCF falls to 13-10 following the loss.
"This was probably our best match of the year, our side-out game was tremendous," said Head Coach Dave Nichols. "We played amazing defense tonight. We could not block but we did everything else very well. Our kids fought hard in this match and I am real proud of them.”
The Knights got off to a 3-1 lead before FGCU went on a 5-0 run behind Ana Kokanovic. The senior had a pair of kills and an ace in the run. The Eagles would up their advantage to 13-8, the five point separation would mark the largest lead of the first set. The Knights would battle back and tie the set on five occasions before a pair of FGCU kills ended the first set at 25-23.
In the second set, the Eagles would again jump out to an early five point lead at 13-8. This time instead of UCF cutting into the lead, the Eagles upped their advantage to 15-8 and the Knights never came within four points during the remainder of the set. The Eagles would take the second set 25-18 as FGCU pounded out 17 kills and hit .517 during the set.
After three early ties in the third set, the Eagles went on a 4-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. UCF slowly chipped away at the lead, knotting the score at 12 apiece. The Knights eventually took an 18-15 lead and maintained the three point lead until 23-20. The Eagles evened the score after a kill by Kokanovic and blocks from Cheyenne Jenks and Audrey Campbell. UCF would not relinquish the lead and held on for a 26-24 win in the third set.
With FGCU out to a slim 11-10 advantage, Roberta Santos took over and carried FGCU to a win with four kills from that point as the Eagles pulled away and built a lead of as many as seven at 20-13. From there, the Eagles would be content to side out and cruise to a 25-18 win.
Stephanie Serna led three UCF hitters in double figures in kills with 19. Williams hit .455 in the match while Erin Campbell and Janine Williams added 14 and 10 kills apiece.
Roberta Santos had a phenomenal match as she recorded her first triple double and the second in school history. The senior setter dished out 44 assists, had 14 kills while hitting .500 with 10 digs. She added four blocks as well. Ana Kokanovic led all players with 22 kills and hit .321 in the match. Catilin Shawver followed up a career-best match with 10 kills and seven digs. Ashley Yance and Audrey Campbell combined for 16 kills and eight blocks in the middle.
The Eagles return to A-Sun play when they travel to Johnson City, Tenn., to face ETSU on Friday at 7:00 pm.