Panthers defeat 49ers, clinch seventh seed in C-USA tournament

Stefano Rivera/Contributing Writer

In the final game of the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 14, the Florida International University women’s volleyball team defeated the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers in straight sets with a score of 25-20, 26-24 and 25-18. With this win, the Panthers (15-12, 9-7 in Conference USA) clinched the seventh spot in the C-USA Tournament.

To start off the match, the Panthers took the tightly contested first set. The team finished with a hitting percentage of .353 and was led by senior middle blocker, Gloria Levorin, who tallied five kills. Defensively, senior libero, Adriana McLamb, collected nine digs.

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead after trailing late in the second set 22-15. Outscoring the 49ers 11-2 in the final stages, the team was able to grind out the victory. Junior middle blocker, Katie Hogan, brought life to the team as she finished the set with six kills and two blocks.

The Panthers picked up where they left off late in the second game and cruised to a three-set victory after handling Charlotte in the final set. Levorin helped lead the charge as she posted four kills and two blocks.

As a team, the Panthers finished with a hitting percentage of .291, which included 44 kills and only 12 errors. This is the second-straight game where the team finishes with 12 or fewer errors. The team also posted seven blocks and seven aces.

Freshman setters, Katie Friesen, who finished with 16 assists and Dominique Dodd, who finished with 12 assists, spread the ball evenly. Levorin and Hogan both finished with 13 kills, and sophomore middle blocker, Jennifer Ene, tallied seven kills. Defensively, sisters, Adriana and Maria McLamb, combined for 27 digs.

The 49ers finished with a hitting percentage of .203, gathering 39 kills and committing 14 errors. The Panther’s defensive presence was shown, as no Charlotte players finished with double-figure kills.

This win completes the sweep of Charlotte, as the Panthers outscored the 49ers 6-0 in as many sets played.

The team won’t play again until Friday, Nov. 20, as they travel to San Antonio to compete in the C-USA tournament. The team will face off against host school and No. 2 seed, University of Texas at San Antonio. Earlier in the season, the Panthers fell to UTSA 1-3, as the Roadrunners proved to be too much to handle.

The Panthers return to the conference tournament after not qualifying for it a year ago. In 2013, the team defeated Middle Tennessee State University in the quarterfinals before being eliminated by the University of Tulsa.

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