Volleyball ends season in the NCAA Tournament

Marks ninth consecutive season advancing to NCAA Regionals

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Mikaela Queen

The Mocs traveled down to Palm Beach Atlantic University on Nov. 14 for the NCAA South Regional Tournament.

The team approached the tournament as the No. 4 seed in the region and took on No. 21 West Florida on Nov. 15 in the first round of the tournament.

Senior Makena Wilson returned to the  NCAA tournament for the second time in a row. 

“We have worked hard all season to be in the top eight of the region,” Wilson said.

Wilson went on and said that as a team, they have had ups and downs, but always stayed together as a team.

The Mocs had a four set victory over the Argonauts in the first round. Double-digit kills by Nicole Mattson, Buse Ene, and Rachael Martin drove the team into their victory.

After a close open to the first set, the Mocs got a four point lead releasing some pressure.

However, the Argonauts came back and took the lead. The Mocs lit up to score 10 of the last 12 points to take set one 25-19.

Early in the second set, the Mocs were hanging on to a two-point lead until a  6-1 rally gave them the edge to end set two 25-14. 

However, West Florida took charge in the third set, catching a 25-23 set three win.

The fourth set went back and forth between the two teams. The Mocs scored the first three points, but the Argonauts were on their heels as the Mocs were in a 20-23 point disadvantage.

Mattaon and Ene scored the final three points clinching a 28-26 fourth set victory and advancing the team to the semifinal round.

Martin said that the team was excited to continue progressing together after their win against West Florida. 

The team was united going into the next round against PBA as they all had an understanding that “it was gonna take everything we had to beat them.”

“We thought that this is gonna be our second chance to defeat them at home and that we were gonna give it our all,” Martin said.

The Mocs took on No.16 Palm Beach Atlantic on Nov. 16 in the semifinal round of the South Region Tournament, but fell to them at the end of three sets ending their season.

PBA jumped into set one in full swing, as they had a 10-5 lead over the Mocs early on. The Mocs caught up to tie at 11-11, but couldn’t hold the sailfish. They lost set one  with the final score of 25-15.

The Mocs took the first two points of set two and three. PBA caught a lead and sailed with it in both sets. The Mocs fell in both ending their season in the semifinal round.

This has been the first season with new head coach Chris Keen, who had moved up from the associate position. Keen said that along with having great support from the athletic administration, the team has been receptive to the coaching change.

The team finished the season with 22 wins and 11 loses. Senior Bethany Beasancenez finished second in school history with 5,285 career assists and 1,384 digs. Mattson finished fourth in school history with 1,676 career kills and ninth with 1,311 digs.

Keen said that Florida Southern Volleyball has a bright future because “they have this no fear type of attitude that will carry into future seasons.”

Keen also said that the freshman have already started to make an impact on and off the court and he has enjoyed watching them grow this past season.

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