FGCU women’s volleyball claims seventh victory

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EN Photo / Brad Young

On Saturday night, FGCU claimed their seventh straight victory when they defeated Florida Atlantic University in their first of four matches at the Owls Classic.
FGCU and FAU fought for each set taking it all the way to the fifth set where FGCU came back from an eight-point deficit to claim the match win. Both teams showed up offensively, with the Eagles having 74 kills, Carroll claimed 25 of those kills, and the Owls having 78 kills for the match.  Each set could have gone either way with a match record of 3-2 with close scores [35-33, 21-25, 25-19, 20-25, 19-17].
In the first set, the Eagles and the Owls were neck and neck most of the time without either one winning a lot of consecutive points. But later in the set, the Owls gained a five-point lead that put them in a position to take set one at 22-17.
FGCU met that gain by winning three consecutive points and then two kills from Leigh Pudwill. Another error by the Owls resulted in a tie, only two points shy of 25. Each point win went back and forth until the scores reached the 30-point range, but FGCU claimed the win of 35-33 after capitalizing off the Owls’ errors.
The Owls took the lead to start off the second set, but with FGCU’s offense, Pudwill and Carroll’s kills allowed them to be tied up at 11-all.  This set saw more consecutive points earned by the Owls and, ultimately, the Eagles couldn’t catch up at the very end and fell short at 21-25 with the Owls claiming their first set win.
Now the match was tied 1-1. Eagles had the momentum by attaining the first six points, but the Owls tailed them with every point. The Owls closed the score gap some by reaching 12 points to Eagle’s 14, but Pudwill’s kills pulled FGCU away again to almost seal the deal for set three. An error from the Owls left the third set in FGCU’s favor, 25-19.
“Tonight was a gritty win,” Head coach Matt Botsford said in a recent FGCU athletics press release. “There were a lot of bright spots, but we put ourselves in some tough positions.”
The fourth set was claimed by FAU, but not without a fight from FGCU. The points went back and forth and each side played smart and relentless volleyball, but toward the end of the set, FAU claimed 6 consecutive points with four of those being from kills. A kill from Pudwill wasn’t enough to shift the momentum back to FGCU and the Owls won the set, 25-20.
Both teams were tied going into the fifth set. Since this set only goes to 15, FAU jumped the gun, earning the first five points. FGCU had to dig hard after being down by 8, because of FAU’s 12-point lead. The Eagles came back to tie it up at 14-all and ended up going into extra points. The Eagles claimed the set win and the match win off of Carroll’s service ace, 19-17.