Saturday afternoon the Lady Bisons dropped their first Atlantic Sun match of the season, losing 3-2 to Florida Gulf Coast at Allen Arena. It was the Atlantic Sun match of the week in volleyball.
The loss stopped the Lady Bisons A-Sun win streak at seven-straight matches, a school record and ends their overall winning streak at eight matches, which tied the school record. The Lady Bisons are back in a tie with Florida Gulf Coast for first place in the conference.
“This is what you would expect out of the top two teams in the conference,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “Florida Gulf Coast did a great job. They were bouncing off of a loss to Belmont so you have to give them credit.
“We don’t like to lose by any stretch, but at the same time it is a good lesson for us. We will become better for it.”
The Lady Bisons lost the first set 25-23, won the second set 25-14, lost set three 25-22 and won set four 25-22. In the fifth set a number of hitting and service errors contributed to the Lady Bisons 15-13 loss and the loss of the match.
“Obviously , it came down to the fifth set and we made way too many unforced hitting errors, service errors and ball handling errors,” said Rosenthal. “I can’t say enough how proud I am of our players. But when we needed it we didn’t execute.
“We had our chances. We did a nice job of coming back in the fifth set. The last rally of the set was great.”
Once again the Lady Bisons had a balanced attack. Sophomore middle blocker Alex Kelly recorded her fourth straight double-double with 17 kills, a match high, and 15 digs
Freshman outside hitter Katie Rose and junior opposite Erin Pierce each made 10 kills.
“Gulf Coast did a nice job early of putting up a good block on us,” Rosenthal said. “We had to make some adjustments and we got some things we were looking for.
“There is not particularly one set that I thought we should have won this or that. When we deserve to win we will. It came down to the fifth set and we didn’t deserve to win the way we played it. We win and lose as a team.”
Senior libero Jessica Turner kept her streak alive with 23 digs, a team high. It marked the ninth straight match she has posted double figures in digs.
Ana Kokanovic, the Player of the Year in the A-Sun last year, had a double-double with 11 kills and 14 digs for Florida Gulf Coast. Ashley Yance had 11 kills. Also in double figures in kills were Audrey Campbell and Roberta Santos with 10 each.
Holly Youngquist led Florida Gulf Coast in digs with 24. Catilin Shawver added 14.
“We are able to step back and kind of re-focus,” Rosenthal said. “I don’t want to lose anything. But as long as we are able to learn and move forward we are in a good spot.
“Obviously, our players are down. But I think that come Monday we are going to have a great practice.”
The Lady Bisons are 9-7, 7-1 in the conference. Florida Gulf Coast is 8-6, 7-1 in the A-Sun.
Tuesday night at 7 the Lady Bisons are back on the court against Tennessee-Martin at Allen Arena.