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Lady Bisons rally to give FGCU its first A-Sun loss

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Oct. 7, 2007

Final Stats

There are victories and then there are signature victories.

Every member of the Lady Bisons volleyball time signed the 3-2 Atlantic Sun match win over Florida Gulf Coast Sunday afternoon at Allen Arena. The Lady Bisons lost the first game 30-26, rallied to win game two 30-23 and game three 30-24 before falling 31-29 in game four. That set up a game five that required the Lady Bisons to come from behind for a 15-13 game five win.

"We talked about being steady and being aggressive," said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. "If we could be aggressive and stay steady with a point here and a point there we would be in good shape. It was a great win for us."

It was the first Atlantic Sun loss for Florida Gulf Coast and the third straight A-Sun match win for the Lady Bisons.

"I felt good the whole match," said Rosenthal. "I turned to Jenna Panatier (assistant coach) and said before a point was played that this program needs one big win. We had been close, but we had never been able to get that big win."

It was the fifth five-game match of the season, and the third in the A-Sun, for the Lady Bisons. They have beaten South Alabama and lost to Evansville, Mercer and ETSU. They drew on those experiences to overcome setbacks against Florida Gulf Coast.

"Our players had a confidence about them," Rosenthal said. "They said, `hey, we can play with whoever we want and we are the team'. It was matter of how we put those other five-game matches aside. Everything was moving forward in this match.

"We had a great week of practice. And we had won against Stetson on Friday. I stepped back and let them play."

In game four the Lady Bisons watched a 29-24 lead disappear as Florida Gulf Coast made seven straight points.

"I thought we were ready to go," Rosenthal said. "In the first game we just made a couple of mental errors. From there on out I thought we had a great game plan and our players executed it well. In games two, three and four I thought we were in great control.

"In game four, being up 29-24 and losing is something you never want to go through. But to the credit of Florida Gulf Coast they made a lot of great plays at the end."

As has been the case all season junior outside hitter Sarah Snider and senior libero Ann Mullins set the pace for the Lady Bisons. Snider had a match-high 26 kills and also made 20 digs. Mullins made a team-leading 25 digs.

"Sarah got out to a really quick start," Rosenthal said. "I thought she did a phenomenal job and not just on offense. She was just solid on both offense and defense.

"She was being asked to do things in tougher situations than most of our players. She had 74 total attacks. She was a calming force for the team." Also in double figures in kills were senior outside hitter Jessica Enderle with a season high 21, freshman middle blocker Alex Kelly with 15 and senior middle blocker Alex Scruggs with 14.

Finishing in double figures in digs were freshman setter Stefine Pease with 15 and defensive specialists Jessica Turner and Grace Gilmore with 13 each.

Scruggs finished with a .433 hitting percentage. She also made a big play to end the match.

"It was a gutsy set by Jake Pease to go to Alex for the match point," Rosenthal said. "She had our best hitter on the outside. Alex Scruggs ran the play exactly how it should have been played.

"We talked at the end of game four after we lost/ We told our players they had to want the ball and when they got the ball they had to do something with it. I was proud of Alex."

The Lady Bisons are 5-4 at home this season. They close out a six-game homestand Tuesday night at 7 against Murray State from the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Lady Bisons are 9-9, 3-2 in the A-Sun. Florida Gulf Coast is 14-2, 4-1 in the conference.

"There is a still a lot of season left," Rosenthal said. "We are going to have some tough road matches ahead."