Dylan Olive | Sept. 4, 2022 12:32 p.m.
The Florida Southern College women’s volleyball team secured a win against a top 20 ranked team while in Alaska to compete in the Denali State Bank Ice Block Classic.
The team went 2-2 overall in the tournament, which took place in Fairbanks, Alaska, with two games on Friday, Sept. 2nd, and two more games on Saturday, Sept. 3rd. In recent years, this is the farthest the team has traveled for a tournament. Going into the tournament, the Mocs were off to an undefeated start to their schedule, going 3-0.
“At first, we were a little hesitant about traveling so far and having to compete while adjusting to the time difference, but each of us managed very well,”senior Mika Garza said.
Friday’s action included a 3-2 win against the University of Alaska Anchorage Seahawks, an AVCA Div. II Top 25 team, currently ranked at number 20. The Mocs lost their second game that day to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks, going 1-3 in the series of matches.
During Friday’s games, several players achieved incredible feats. Mackenzie Petermann and Ali Travis both achieved double-digit kills, Petermann with 12 and Travis with 14. Garza had the most assists against the Nanooks, with 42 in the four-set match, while Beatrice Formalin put up 14 digs in the match.
“The games this past weekend showed us some areas we need to improve,” Garza said. “With all of the talent on our team I am confident we will train hard, strengthen our weaknesses, and play at a very high level this season.”
During the next two games of the tournament on Saturday, the Mocs took a 0-3 loss against the University of Findlay Oilers and a 3-0 win against the Black Hills State University Yellow Jackets.
Travis and Petermann led the team in kills again, with six each against Findlay, and Jana Gilic with five. Against Black Hills State, Petermann once again led in kills, with a total of 14, along with achieving 11 digs. Formalin led in digs with 13, while Garza pushed out 30 assists and pulled off a double-double by digging up 10 balls.
“Overall, we performed well in Alaska,” Garza said. “We fell short in two of our games which was pretty upsetting for all of us because we know we did not compete at our best. We are still early in the season and there are things we need to work on; the games this past weekend showed us some areas we need to improve.”
The team said they are excited about future conference matches and a tournament in October, in Birmingham, Alabama.
“This is the best chemistry we have had on the team over the past few years,” Garza said. “We look and act as a unit, which is a component that will help us in reaching our goals this season.”