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Late Run to Close Out FIU in Five Sets Extends FGCU’s Win Streak to Nine Matches

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics

In their last non-conference match of the regular season on Tuesday, Oct. 17, FGCU volleyball took care of business against fellow mid-major school and in-state rival FIU, 3-2, while extending their win streak to nine straight matches.

The yearly matchup between the two schools since 2007 returned once again this season, as 2020 was the only year they didn’t face one another due to the pandemic and scheduling changes. The Eagles have had quite the edge over the Panthers through the years, coming into this match with 12 wins of the 17 matches the teams have played against each other. The 12 wins have been all since 2012 and the Eagles were looking to extend their win streak over the Panthers to 13 matches in a row.

FGCU was coming into the match with a record of 15-5 and eight consecutive wins prior. FIU came into the match with a record of 9-12 and were looking to get a win closer to a .500 record. It would be a tougher task for the Eagles than the records would have indicated going in.

The first two sets were nearly identical in how they went. The Panthers were able to get out to a 1-0 set lead because of a 25-20 set one win. The Eagles responded and did the exact same thing to tie it up at one set apiece, also by a score of 25-20 for a set two win.

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A close set three went the way of the Panthers, 25-22, to take a 2-1 set lead and pushed the Eagles to the brink in set four. But FGCU responded nicely in set four by going on a long run, including going on a dominating 16-0 run to easily breeze past the Panthers and through the set, 25-11, and pushing the match to a fifth and deciding set.

With FGCU and FIU tied up, it looked to be a close and competitive final set to decide the match. Surprisingly, it wasn’t close at all. A quick start by the Eagles gave the Panthers no chance to recover quick enough to rally back as FGCU earned the set win, 15-8, and their ninth consecutive match win, 3-2, over FIU. They particularly dominated the last two sets on the road to their comeback win.

Redshirt junior outside hitter Courtney Glotzbach was one of the standouts of the match for FGCU. Glotzbach had 15 kills, all of which came in the last three sets. Freshman libero/defensive specialist Reese Burry had 27 digs in the match, her season-high in digs. Finally, junior defensive specialist/libero Claire Ertel was a huge contributor in the fourth and fifth sets with her serves coming in important situations to flip the match in the Eagles’ favor.

Now at 16-5, the Eagles have a long road trip upcoming. These include trips to Bellarmine, Eastern Kentucky, Stetson and North Alabama. They will look to improve upon their undefeated ASUN Conference record of 8-0 in this stretch to further their lead on top of the conference. FGCU will be back at home again on Friday, Nov. 3, against Kennesaw State and on Saturday, Nov. 4, against Queens, to wrap up their home regular season matches.

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About the Contributor
James Curtis
James Curtis, Eagle News Sports Editor
James Curtis is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in global studies. He is from Tampa, FL, and has known he wanted to be a journalist since taking a journalism class in seventh grade. He has been involved in sports for his whole life, including swimming competitively all the way through high school. His goal now is to be a sports journalist. When not covering sports games or writing stories, he's usually spending his free time with his friends or watching YouTube.

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