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Rhoades, Puisis Take 13, Beats Webber 4-1

Despite a 30-minute lightning delay, the FGCU beach volleyball team (12-10) returned home for the first time since March 16 after defeating two-time defending small college national champion NAIA Webber International (12-12) by a score of 4-1 for their last non-conference matchup. With the win, the Eagles are now 7-0 overall against the Warriors despite already clinching a spot in the A-SUN Conference Tournament.

“I don’t think we played as crisp or cleanly as we have recently, so I was a little disappointed in that,” said FGCU head coach Matt Botsford. “We did play well at the end of sets, though, and that was probably the difference today.”

The No. 4 duo of freshman Snowy Burnam and Kayla Whetstone defeated senior Kaxandra Naranjo and freshman Molly Fusarelli 21-7, 21-5 to give the Eagles the early lead, but the Warriors would tie the score after the No. 5 duo of junior Kaitlyn Krivdo and freshman Alayna Ryan fell 21-17, 22-24, 9-15 to freshman Kobi Allston and junior Teryn Mills. Burnam and Whetstone’s win was their 11th of the season.

The Eagles would then regain the lead after No. 3 duo senior Ashley Glickert and sophomore Giovanna Borgiotti defeated sophomores Laura Embry and Hannah Tannone 21-12, 21-16 before the No. 1 duo of senior Mackenzie Allen and junior Amanda Carroll defeated sophomores Amber Lake and Carlee Baxter 21-12, 19-21, 15-10 to give the Eagles the win.

The No. 2 duo of junior Karissa Rhoades and Katherine Puisis defeated freshman Emily Bowen and sophomore Hannah Tannone 21-17, 21-18. This was Rhoades’ and Puisis’ 13th win of the season and 28th career win overall.

“I didn’t think today was one of their best performances, but they’re playing at such a high level [that] they can find themselves in a hole, dig themselves out and still pull out a win,” Botsford said of Rhoades and Puisis.

With their 12th win, the Eagles’ overall effort secured their third straight season with 10 or more wins. Since producing a program-record 15 wins last year, the Eagles are now 36-25 over the past three seasons.

“Double digit wins is big,” Botsford said. “It shows the trend. We’ve known that it’s been going upward the past few years. It’s about sustainability. That benchmark means something to us, and I’m hoping we can continue to build upon it.”

The Eagles return to action at home as they continue conference play, welcoming UNF and Jacksonville on April 13 and14.

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