BOCA RATON, Fla. - Despite winning the first game, the Florida Gulf Coast University women’s volleyball team lost a non-conference match to Florida Atlantic 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 25-18) Tuesday night at FAU Arena in Boca Raton, Florida.
Senior Ashley Yance (Fort Myers, Fla) led FGCU (11-9, 10-3 in Atlantic Sun) with 13 kills.
Since the match was non-conference, the Eagles still sit in third place in the A-Sun. They are one game behind second-place Jacksonville and three behind A-Sun leader Lipscomb.
FGCU fell behind 5-1 early in game one. The Eagles battled back to tie the score at six after a block by junior Jacqueline Cowden (Danville, Calif.). FAU stretched its lead again this time taking a 12-8 advantage before the Eagles called timeout. Thanks in part to two kills by junior Emma Racila (Fort Myers, Fla.) the Eagles tied the score at 12 apiece. FGCU took its first lead at 16-15 after an Owl hitting error. A kill by Yance put FGCU up 21-20 but FAU (5-14) had a set point leading 24-23 after a hitting error by Racila. However, FGCU won three consecutive points, the third being a kill by Yance, to win the first game 26-24.
Game two went back and forth before Cowden blasted a kill that put FGCU up 6-5 early. FAU rallied to take a 10-7 lead and eventually stretched that lead to 15-9. An ace by Yance got the Eagles within five at 17-12 but FAU continued to keep its lead and won the second game 25-21. FGCU hit just .037 in the second game compared to FAU’s .265.
The Eagles fell behind 6-2 in game three. A kill by Racila got FGCU back within five points at 10-5 but FAU stretched its lead all the way to 14-6. FGCU showed some life as it trimmed the lead to 14-10 thanks in part to a kill by Yance and a kill by freshman Julia Lopez (El Paso, Tex.). The Owls took a 20-15 advantage later on prompting an Eagle timeout. FAU eventually won the third game 25-21 despite being outhit by the Eagles .171 to .136.
Sophomore Anna Wagner (Lincoln, Neb.) had a kill that tied game four at 3 apiece early on. FAU strung together four consecutive points to take a 7-3 lead but FGCU struck right back with six straight points of its own thanks two aces by junior Alexa Napoleon (Naples, Fla) and a kill from Racila. FAU quickly regained the lead at 13-12 and extended that lead to 18-14 before FGCU called a timeout. The timeout did not help the Eagles as FAU won the first four points immediately following the stoppage. Senior Chandra Lefever (Fort Morgan, Col.) had a kill but the Eagles lost the match after losing game four 25-18.
Wagner finished with eight kills while Racila and Cowden each chipped in with six. Lefever had a team-high 33 assists and 13 digs while sophomore Holly Youngquist (Estero, Fla.) had 11 digs of her own.
The Eagles return to action Friday when they travel to Nashville, Tennessee to play A-Sun leader Lipscomb at 7:30 p.m. They will play Belmont in Nashville Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
FGCU’s next home tilt is against East Tennessee State on October 30 at Alico Arena at 7 p.m.