Volleyball wraps up regular season

Nicole Mattson earns Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year

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The five Moccasin seniors (from left to right) Whitney Drost, Makena Wilson, Gabby Fresh, Nicole Mattson, and Bethany Besancenez pose for a photo following their senior day ceremony. The Mocs would go on to beat Tampa 3-1 in their final regular season home game.

Mikaela Queen

Ranked fourth in the NCAA South Region rankings, Florida Southern volleyball advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth-straight season. 

The Mocs played 31 matches in the 2018 regular season, with 20 of them being conference play. The team won 21 of those matches, 13 of them being played at home in Jenkins Field House. On the road the team has won four matches and lost seven. 

After falling in the first three matches of the season, the Mocs picked up steam winning the next six. The team then fell to Saint Leo, Lynn and Barry on the road before turning around to trump Embry-Riddle, Florida Tech, No. 9 PBA, Nova Southeastern, and Saint Leo at home. 

Senior libero, Gabby Fresh said that after the start of the season, practices were focused on finding the right rotation and becoming more confident as a team. 

“During that win streak, we knew what our standard was for our team,” Fresh said. “and that we had to meet that standard and play with energy and focus every match to win.”

The Mocs attended the South Region Crossover in Orlando on October 19-20. During that weekend, they played Valdosta State, No. 12 West Florida, and West Georgia. All three matches were a win for the Mocs increasing their record. 

Their regular season ended with two home victories this past weekend. The seniors were recognized during Saturdays match against No.9 Tampa. Senior Nicole Mattson started all 31 matches this season as an outside hitter. She has made 521 kills this season and has increased her total to 1628 in her four years at Florida Southern. 

On Tuesday, Mattson was named Player of the Year for the Sunshine State Conference in addition to being first team all-SSC. Rachel Martin was named second team all-SSC as a sophmore.

In 31 matches this season, Mattson tallied 521 kills, 26 service aces, 410 digs, and 45 total blocks. She had 20 or more kills in 11 different games over the course of the year.

Mattson has been awarded the Sunshine State Conference Offensive Player of the week twice this season, once in September and once in October. In addition, she was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the week in September. She said the awards she has won are a reflection of the great coaching and player support she has received throughout the years. 

“There is always a feeling of needing to prove myself after receiving an award, but that feeling tends to go away quickly and I just focus on the next game,” Mattson said. 

From her freshman year to now, Mattson’s confidence and leadership abilities have increased. She said that she had role models on the team when she came in that helped her with not only building her confidence, but leading her team to victory. Now as a captain, Mattson’s role is to the the best leader she can be. 

“I try my best to set a positive standard both on and off the court and keep the traditions of Florida Southern volleyball alive,” Mattson said. 

The Mocs will meet up with West Florida again on the first round of the NCAA South Regional Tournament in West Palm Beach. Visit FSCMocs.com for updates on the rest of their season. 

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