Panthers return to their winning ways following victory against Louisiana Tech

The FIU women’s volleyball team meets a center court prior to their matchup against the Stetson Hatters on August 25, 2018 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. (Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics)

By Jenna Smith/ Asst. Sports Director



After picking up their first conference loss of the season, the Panthers bounced back to defeat Louisiana Tech 3-0 on Friday, Oct. 5 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center.

FIU improves their overall record to 12-6 while advancing to 4-1 in Conference USA. The Panthers are tied for second in C-USA.

High energy filled the courts during the Panthers’ match against the Lady Techsters as the teams wore pink to honor Breast Cancer awareness month during their match.

During the first match, both team’s momentum was hard to stop with no one giving up more than five-point leads during the opening match.

Following their early efforts, the first set ended with a 26-24 FIU win.

Head Coach Rita Buck-Crockett discussed how the Panthers’ bench is full of talent and explained how she used that in her favor during the second match.

When the Panthers replaced outside hitter Sydney Henderson for Nina Petronavic, the lady Techsters struggled with putting a strong defensive block against FIU.

The Panthers took set two 25-20.

In the third set, the Panthers trailed 0-4 against LA Tech. Finishing plays kept FIU from leading the Techsters in the match.

After a timeout, the Panthers regrouped and were able to get back on top by finding the open holes on the court.

Later in the set, both teams were tied at 20. Consistent serving by outside hitter Ronja Kilinger shook up the Techsters defense and advanced FIU to 24-20.

A service error and hitting errors allowed for the Techsters to come back, 22-24. Abbie Hughes closed the set, 25-22, with a setter dump.

“The biggest thing is consistency,” says Buck-Crockett when discussing their away and home games.

On the road, the Panthers have struggled with beating teams. Their away record stands at 1-3, falling to top-ranked teams such as the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida.

Bucket-Crockett says their team communication has improved on what spots may be open for scoring during their matches.

Hughes versatility sailed during the match. Hughes had 40 assists, 17 digs and four blocks. Margherita Bianchin and Chelsea Hudson led the team in kills. Bianchin with 17 and Hudson with 10. Kilinger finished with seven kills and two aces.

The next Conference game for the Panthers will be away against UTSA who are ranked third in the Conference. The match is set for Friday, October 12 at 8 p.m.

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