FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s volleyball team fell to top-seeded Lipscomb 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21) in the championship game of the 2009 Atlantic Sun Volleyball Tournament at Alico Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles kept it close in all three sets but the powerful Bisons, who have now won 22 consecutive matches against A-Sun opponents, proved to be too much in the end.
Lipscomb (28-3) earned the Atlantic Sun’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament while FGCU (18-13) finished the season as the A-Sun postseason runner up.
“They were quite sharp,” FGCU head coach Dave Nichols said of Lipscomb. “We fought hard and I like that. Did we ever stop fighting or let down? No. I like that.”
Sophomore Anna Wagner (Lincoln, Neb.) put FGCU up 3-1 in the first set after back-to-back kills. Her third kill of the set tied the score at six apiece, but Lipscomb won five of the next six points prompting an FGCU timeout. A kill by junior Jacqueline Cowden (Danville, Calif.) trimmed the Bisons’ lead to 12-9 but Lipscomb quickly answered back extending its lead back to 16-10. A kill by Wagner started a run of five consecutive points for the Eagles that tied the score at 20. Lipscomb again jumped in front and held on to win the first set 25-22 after senior Chandra Lefever (Fort Morgan, Col.) had a kill attempt sail just long to end the set.
FGCU opened a 2-0 lead in the second set only to fall behind 9-3 after Lipscomb won nine of the next ten points. Senior Ashley Yance (Fort Myers, Fla.) blasted a kill to trim the lead to 12-7 and Lefever’s kill brought FGCU within four at 14-10. Lefever served an ace that made the score 19-14 and a block by Wagner made the deficit just four at 22-18. However, the Eagles would not score another point in the set as Lipscomb took a commanding 2-0 lead with a 25-18 second set victory.
Lipscomb jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third set. Wagner ripped a kill that cut the lead to 6-4 and two points later served an ace that tied the score at six apiece. Cowden had back-to-back blocks that gave FGCU a 9-7 advantage, but the Bisons scored three straight points to regain the lead. The teams traded points until Lipscomb scored three straight points to take an 18-14 lead. A block by junior Emma Racila (Fort Myers, Fla.) cut the lead to 22-18 and a service error by Lipscomb brought the Eagles within three at 24-21. Lipscomb would win the next point however, ending FGCU’s comeback hopes.
Lipscomb hit .272 as a team for the match while FGCU hit .147 as a team.
Wagner led the Eagles with ten kills while Cowden chipped in with nine and Racila finished with six. Lefever led the Eagles with 27 assists while sophomore Holly Youngquist (Estero, Fla.) had a team-high 15 digs.
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
Tournament MVP: Jake Pease, Lipscomb
Erin Pierce, Lipscomb
Alex Kelly, Lipscomb
Chandra Lefever, FGCU
Jelena Simic (injured in conference semifinal), FGCU
Jenny Gray, Belmont