SPARTANBUG, S.C. - Five different players had at least seven kills as the Florida Gulf Coast University women’s volleyball team moved to 4-0 in Atlantic Sun Conference play with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-21) victory over USC Upstate at the Hodge Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina Monday night.
Junior Jelena Simic (Lazarevec, Serbia) led FGCU (5-5 overall, 4-0 A-Sun) with 12 kills. Junior Jacqueline Cowden (Danville, Calif.) finished with nine kills while senior Ashley Yance (Fort Myers, Fla.) chipped in with eight kills. Junior Emma Racila (Fort Myers, Fla.) tallied eight kills and sophomore Anna Wagner (Lincoln, Neb.) finished with seven kills for the Eagles.
The victory gave FGCU a .500 record on its season-opening 10-game road trip.
The Eagles opened a 6-2 lead in the first set after a kill by Simic. Upstate (3-8 overall, 0-4 A-Sun) would eventually tie the score at 13 but FGCU won the next three points to take a 16-13 lead, forcing the Spartans to call timeout. The timeout didn’t help as FGCU eventually won the set 25-21 after a kill by Racila.
FGCU hit a blistering .583 in the second set compared to Upstate’s -.042. FGCU opened a 6-2 lead after a kill by Yance and eventually stretched that lead to 14-8 after another kill by the senior. FGCU eventually stretched that lead to 18-9 thanks to numerous errors by the Spartans. USC Upstate made nine hitting errors in the second set alone. The Eagles went up 24-15 after a kill by Racila and won the set on Upstate’s ninth hitting error.
The third set was the tightest of the contest as the teams were tied late in the set at 13-13. FGCU took control after that and opened an 18-15 lead after back-to-back kills by Racila. Upstate closed within two at 20-18 but Cowden and Yance each blasted a kill to put FGCU back up four. The Eagles won the set 25-21 after a service ace by freshman Lindsey Childs (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
Senior Chandra Lefever (Fort Morgan, Col.) had 32 assists and 13 digs for the Eagles. Sophomore Holly Youngquist (Fort Myers, Fla.) led FGCU with 14 digs. Simic finished with 12 digs.
The Eagles will open the home portion of their schedule Friday when they host A-Sun foe Belmont (4-7 overall, 2-1 A-Sun) at 5 p.m. at Alico Arena. FGCU was 10-1 on its home floor last season.