FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s volleyball team won its third consecutive match Saturday night as it topped Campbell (16-11 overall, 9-7 A-Sun) 3-1 (25-20, 25-16, 21-25, 25-16) at Alico Arena.
With the victory, the Eagles (14-10 overall, 13-4 A-Sun) guaranteed themselves no worse than the No.3 seed in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament beginning November 19 at Alico Arena.
The Eagles also moved into sole possession of second place in the A-Sun thanks to a loss by Jacksonville.
“We are improving and we are playing more and more good points,” FGCU coach Dave Nichols said. “We’ve been focusing on what we need to do to get better.”
FGCU jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first set thanks to a kill by junior Jelena Simic (Lazarevec, Serbia) and stretched that lead to 10-8 after a kill by sophomore Anna Wagner (Lincoln, Neb.). A kill by junior Emma Racila (Fort Myers, Fla.) put the Eagles up 14-11 and Simic’s kill put FGCU up 18-16 and prompted a Camel timeout. Senior Chandra Lefever (Fort Morgan, Col.) put FGCU up 23-18 and Racila gave FGCU the first set 25-20 with a kill. The Eagles hit a blistering .457 in the first game compared to Campbell’s .344.
Senior Ashley Yance (Fort Myers, Fla.) put FGCU up 5-3 early in the second set. Junior Jacqueline Cowden (Danville, Calif.) had a clean block that put FGCU up 9-5 and had a kill later on that put the Eagles up 13-8. Racila blasted a kill to put FGCU up 16-10 and Wagner extended that lead to 18-11 with a kill. Another kill by Wagner put FGCU up 23-14 and FGCU earned a 25-16 second set victory after Lefever came away with a block. The Eagles made six hitting errors and only hit .107 in the second set but Campbell made nine and hit -.094 as a team.
The start of the third set could not have better for the Eagles but the finish could not have been much worse. Yance’s ace put the Eagles up 5-0 and FGCU stretched that to a 10-4 margin after a kill from Simic. FGCU led 14-7 before Campbell won nine straight points to take a 16-14 lead. Campbell stretched that lead to 23-16 before a kill by Racila trimmed the margin back down to six. An ace by Lefever got FGCU back within three at 24-21 but the Camels won the third set 25-21 after blocking an Eagle kill attempt.
An ace by Racila put FGCU up 3-2 in the fourth set. A kill by Wagner put the Eagles up 6-5 before Wagner won seven consecutive service points giving FGCU a 13-5 lead. Lefever’s kill put FGCU up 16-8 and Wagner blasted another kill that extended the Eagle advantage to 19-9. FGCU pushed that lead to 21-9 but Campbell won five consecutive points to trim the lead to 21-14 and force FGCU to call a timeout. There would be no repeat of the third set however as Simic’s kill gave FGCU the fourth set and the match 25-16.
Simic had a match-high 16 kills while Wagner and Racila each chipped in 15. Sophomore Holly Youngquist (Estero, Fla.) led FGCU with 20 digs and Lefever had a match-high 49 assists.
The Eagles will be back in action next Friday when they take on Kennesaw State in Kennesaw, Georgia at 7 p.m. They’ll then travel to Macon, Georgia to take on Mercer on the next day at 3 p.m.
FGCU’s next home match is November 12 against USC Upstate at 7 p.m. That is the team’s final regular season contest.