Stefano Rivera/Contributing Writer
The women’s volleyball team hosted Florida Gulf Coast University on Tuesday, Oct. 6, as its slate of four consecutive home games continued. Coming from the Atlantic 10 Conference, the Eagles were the final non-conference game for the Panthers this season.
The Panthers fell to the Eagles in four sets with a final score of 23-25, 25-11, 21-25, and 22-25. This loss put an end to the team’s brief two-game winning streak. FGCU improved to 11-7 overall, while the Panthers took a step back to 10-7 (4-2 in C-USA). For the season, the team finished 6-5 against non-conference opponents.
In the first set, the Panthers started off slowly, finishing with a -.027 hitting percentage. However, they got things together and responded by tying the score up at 1-1. Junior, Gloria Levorin, Sophomore, Jennifer Ene, and Sophomore, Tia Clay, fueled the team in this set with 9 kills combined.
Despite out-blocking the Eagles 3-1 throughout the game and into the third set, the team couldn’t take the lead. FGCU finished with a .389 hitting percentage, compared to the Panther’s .195 percentage. Bad hitting hurt the Panthers in the final set, as they finished with a -.030 hitting percentage in the fourth set.
Hitting was a major concern for the team throughout the match. Head Coach, Rita Buck-Crockett said, “We had 28 hitting errors and they only had 7 blocks. We had 16 blocks and we lost 3-1. That’s almost impossible to do.”
Even though the games were close and the Panthers hung around with the Eagles, the hitting miscues prevented the team from finishing the plays. Buck-Crockett stated, “Our passing was good. Our setters did a very good job. Our hitters just weren’t hitting the ball.”
The overall numbers were fairly even. Some, aces and blocks, even favored FIU throughout the match, but the team was not able to wrap up the victory.
“Their effort was good but I don’t think they were focused as much as I would have liked them to be focused”, Buck-Crockett explained.
The team was led by Senior, Lucia Castro, who collected 12 kills, Clay, who finished with 10 kills and a .316 hitting percentage, and Senior, Adriana McLamb, who notched 13 digs.
Up next for the Panthers is a visit from C-USA foe, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, on Friday, Oct.7, at 7 p.m. The 49ers come into this matchup at 5-11 (2-3 in C-USA).
“We are definitely going to have to come better focused and be ready for a tough match”, Buck-Crockett said.
The Panthers will have to learn from their mistakes if they look to bounce back and end the homestand in a positive note.