Each set was close with the Lady Bisons losing 25-23 in set one, 25-22 in set two and 25-23 in set three at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer led the Lady Bisons with 13 kills. Middle hitter Alex Kelly posted a double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs. Libero Katie Rose added 10 digs.
Kelly was named to the All-Tournament team, her second such honor this season.
All three sets were decided late. In set one the game was tied at 22-22. In set two the score was tied the game at 20-20. And in set three the Lady Bisons led 23-22.
Florida International is 5-1. The Lady Bisons are 3-3.
“It was a good battle,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “It was what we expected. Unfortunately, we had some things not go our way, but in the end it was all about us and making big plays.
“I thought our players fought real hard. We came up short. There is not a whole lot to say about the match. They know what they have to do. I thought defensively we let up in a couple of spots, but other than that I am happy with the play.”
Most of the set losses for the Lady Bisons in the early going have been by two points. Rosenthal knows his team is learning lessons from the close losses.
“They have learned they have to stick to the game plan,” said Rosenthal. “The second thing is we have got to make the plays in the end. We can’t hope for the other team not to make the play.
“Against a quality opponent you can’t sit back on your heels. You have to go for it. We have realized that if we play defense for a whole match, instead of doing it stop and go, we are going to be tough to beat.”
Rosenthal praised Kelly, Hinemeyer, setter Stefine “Jake” Pease and Rose for their efforts in the Florida international match.
“Jake and Alex really found a way to make things happen,” said Rosenthal. “At times it wasn’t the prettiest, but they found a way. And that is what leaders do.
“In our preconference schedule we have realized we can play with whoever we want. It builds a lot of confidence into what we are trying to do with this program.”
The Lady Bisons were returning to Nashville from Lawrence, Kan., Saturday afternoon. Sunday will be a day off, but the Lady Bisons will practice on Labor Day in preparation for Tuesday’s Atlantic Sun opener at Belmont at 6:30.
“We expect it to be a great crowd over there,” said Rosenthal. “We expect them to be up for the match.
“It is one of those things where we feel confident that we are prepared to play this match. We are going into the conference schedule with a lot of confidence.”