NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Despite dropping the first two games, the Florida Gulf Coast University volleyball team scratched and clawed their way back to win a non-conference match at Belmont, 3-2 (16-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-21, 16-14) Saturday afternoon at the Curb Event Center.
With the win the Eagles improve to 3-10 overall, while the Bruins drop to 6-11 on the season.
After the teams battled to a 10-10 tie to start game one, the Bruins used a 15-6 run to take the set, 25-16. Freshman Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) and senior Caitlin Shawver (Lauderdale by the Sea, Fla./Barry/Northeast HS) each registered three kills as the Eagles hit just .167 to Belmont’s .441.
The Bruins took an early 13-7 lead in game two, forcing FGCU to burn a timeout. After the timeout, the Eagles clawed their way to within three points (18-15) thanks to kills from senior Adrianne McNally (Howell, Mich./Pinckney HS) and freshman Camil Dominguez (Santo Domingo, D.R./Santa Teresita). FGCU continued to battle, but Belmont held off the Eagles to pick up the game two win, 25-20. Belmont outhit FGCU .323-.233 in the set.
The teams went back and forth in the beginning of game three and with the score tied at 8-8, the Eagles used a 11-4 run to take a 19-12 lead and seize control of the set. The run was highlighted by kills from McNally, seniors Chelsea Lyles (Colorado Springs, Col./Western Nebraska CC/Harrison HS) and Jacqueline Cowden (Danville, Calif./Temple/Monte Vista HS) and sophomore Brittany Muse (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto County HS). The Blue and Green would go on to hold off the Bruins and win game three (25-20). The Eagles hit .200 for the set, while limiting Belmont to a .043 hitting percentage.
The Eagles jumped out to a commanding 19-13 lead after a kill from Lyles. A 4-1 run by Belmont got the Bruins within three points at 20-17, but FGCU continued their solid play and took the game 25-21. A kill from Muse sealed the set for the Blue and Green.
In the deciding game, the Eagles continued their solid play. A kill from Danielle Prochaska gave Belmont a 14-13 lead and forced FGCU to call a timeout. The Blue and Green responded in a big way and scored three consecutive points off of kills from Cowden, Muse and Shawver to win the deciding set 16-14 and take the match.
McNally finished with 13 kills and five digs while Cowden registered her first double-double as an Eagle with 10 kills and 10 digs. Lyles, Muse and Barnes each chipped in with seven kills. Dominguez recorded her third career double-double of the season with 45 assists and 11 digs while junior Holly Youngquist (Estero, Fla./Evangelical Christian) registered a team-high 19 digs.
The Eagles will be back in action Sunday afternoon (Sept. 26) when they face the defending Atlantic Sun champs Lipscomb in non-conference action at 2 p.m. With the league approving single round-robin play for regular season matches this year, FGCU’s road matches against Belmont and Lipscomb in September will not count in conference standings.
FGCU’s next home tilt will be October 15 when they host the Owls of Kennesaw State at Alico Arena at 6 p.m.