A home crowd filled with FMU student-athletes, coaches and fans had much to cheer about on Tuesday, Sept. 18, as the FMU volleyball team took the sting out of the bite of the Coker College volleyball team by sweeping the Cobras in three sets, 27-25, 25-16, 25-10, on Sea of Red Night.
Every year, the FMU volleyball team celebrates Sea of Red Night, a night in which other FMU athletic teams unite to show support for the volleyball team.
While FMU head coach Paul MacDonald said that he appreciated the fan support, he admitted that it put some pressure on his team, causing some poor play in the first set.
“We had to get used to the crowd,” MacDonald said. “I wasn’t really concerned about the crowd, but I knew that having a crowd like that affects each of our players in different ways. Some of our players even admitted to me that they were nervous. But once our players got settled in, we really started playing better.”
The Patriots found themselves having to claw back in the first set, fighting off a pair of set points for Coker before finally claiming the 27-25 victory.
MacDonald was very frustrated with his squad for much of the opening set.
“We were making a lot of unforced errors,” MacDonald said. “We knew that we couldn’t give Coker a lot of momentum but we kept giving them unnecessary opportunities.”
In the second set, things would run a little more smoothly for FMU. Behind the serving of sophomore defensive specialist Meghan Peji, the Patriots went on a 6-0 run, which allowed them to overcome a three-point deficit midway through the second set.
Coker went up 1-0 in the third set after a serving error by FMU senior outside hitter Liz Drewry. But that 1-0 advantage would be the last time Coker led, as the Patriots heavily attacked the Cobras and never looked back.
MacDonald said that as the match progressed, his team put a lot of pressure on Coker’s club.
The head coach also said that he was pleased with the way his team finished the match.
With the victory, FMU improved its record to 7-3 and extended its winning streak to three matches. After the win, MacDonald said that his team was focusing in on the Peach Belt Conference portion of their schedule.
The victory gave FMU its 50th triumph against the Cobras in 58 all-time meetings.
Drewry led the way for FMU with 10 kills, a .304 hitting percentage, four service aces and nine digs. Junior middle blocker Megan Mooney added nine kills, while hitting .571 and registering eight blocks—one shy of her career high.
For the Cobras, junior Taylor Willis led Coker (1-11) with six kills and a pair of service aces, while sophomore setter Samantha Celek handed out 19 assists. Senior libero Brittany Bass dug up a team-high of nine balls.
As a team, FMU had more kills (38-25), aces (7-3) and blocks (12-4) than Coker College.
First-year FMU men’s basketball player Cameron Lee was among the many in attendance to witness the Patriots dominate the Cobras.
“The Sea of Red atmosphere was definitely electric,” Lee said. “All the players were amped up.”
Lee also said that as a fellow athlete, it was good for him to support another FMU athletic team.
“We walk around on campus a lot of times and don’t know who’s on what team,” Lee said. “Sea of Red Night really gave us a chance to socialize, network and put names with faces.”