KENNESAW, Ga. – Jelena Simic had 23 kills and 19 digs and Emma Racila registered 14 kills, as Florida Gulf Coast volleyball team erased a 10-8 deficit in the final set to defeat Kennesaw State 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 13-25, 25-16, 15-12) Friday night at the KSU Convocation Center in an Atlantic Sun Conference match. Simic’s 23 kills mark the fourth time this season she has registered 20-plus kills in a match.
After being blown out by FGCU in Fort Myers, Fla., earlier this season, the Owls (15-10 overall, 9-8 A-Sun) came out with something to prove against the Eagles. After dropping the first set, KSU stormed through sets two and three, siding out FGCU (15-10 overall, 14-4 A-Sun) on 73 percent of its serves en route to a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Eagles came back in the fourth set as the Owls struggled against the service game and faster-paced attack of the Blue and Green. The Eagles took the fourth set, 25-16, setting up a decisive final set.
Simic (Lazarevac, Serbia) had five of her match-high 23 kills in the final set, but the Owls still had a chance after kills by Callie Churchwell, Holly Knight and Sabrita Gulley gave the Owls a 10-8 lead. The teams traded points, before KSU extended their lead back to two, 11-9. That would prove to be the last point the Owls would win with a kill on the night, as five straight points, highlighted by a service ace by Anna Wagner (Lincoln, Neb.) and kills by Jacqueline Cowden (Danville, Calif.) and Simic would give the Eagles match point, 14-11. FGCU picked up the victory after a kill by Cowden gave the Eagles a 15-12 win in the set.
Both teams had 61 kills and 25 errors in the match, but the Eagles had nine more attack attempts. Simic was one of three Eagles in double-digits with kills, earning 23 kills. Racila (Fort Myers, Fla.) had 14 kills, while Wagner tallied 11 kills and five digs. Setter Chandra Lefever (Fort Morgan, Col.) had a double-double with 53 assists and 13 digs.
The Eagles will be back in action tomorrow afternoon as they head to Macon, Ga. to take on the Bears of Mercer. Match time is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.