Trailing two sets to one and losing grip in the fifth set, the FGCU volleyball team dug deep, earning itself a win against #2 Kennesaw State (19-25, 25-21, 20-25, 26-24, 15-11), advancing to its first ASUN Championship Final since 2009.
In the first set, Kennesaw State came out strong with 8-3 lead after converting on all of their first five attacks. The Owls extended its lead to 14-8, but FGCU made the game within four after a kill by Carroll and block assists from Leigh Pudwill and Serrano.
However, FGCU didn’t fight back enough, dropping the set 25-19.
In the second, FGCU came out with a quick 4-0 lead and continued to dominate from there.
Pudwill and Borgiotti were key along the net with four kills apiece, while, defensively, the team totaled four blocks and held the Owls’ hitting percentage to .000, winning the frame 25-21.
Coming back from intermission, the momentum shifted back to Kennesaw State. Trailing 14-6 midway through the third set, FGCU took advantage of a seven-point run, thanks in part to a trio of service aces from Borgiotti.
Even after drawing the score within one, FGCU dropped the third set, 25-20.
Trailing 2-1, the Eagles fought hard in the fourth set. After controlling a majority of the set, FGCU was two points from elimination before receiving back-to-back kills from Amanda Carroll to reclaim the lead and force a fifth set with a 26-24 win.
In the fifth set, the Eagles fell behind early and were forced take a timeout, trailing 4-1. However, four straight points coming out of the timeout gave FGCU the lead.
Carroll recorded three straight kills to give the Eagles a 13-9 advantage, and freshman outside hitter, Giovanna Borgiotti, ended the night with back-to-back kills, making the score 15-11 in favor of the Eagles.
Carroll led the way offensively with another double-double, totaling 21 kills and a team-high 20 digs. Borgiotti also joined Carroll with a double-double of her own, with 14 kills and a season-high 16 digs.
However, defense was the game changer. With 15 blocks, four from Daniele Serrano and Marlene Moeller, the Owls’ hitting percentage was kept to .109.
Next, the Eagles will look to claim its first ASUN Tournament Championship in program history against #1 Lipscomb at 6 p.m. ET, Nov. 19.