FMU volleyball team comes up short despite late spurt


Cameron Tindal, Sports Writer

In the first match of a four match conference home stretch, the Patriots were unable to overcome an early deficit and fell in four setsto the Flagler College Saints on Friday, Oct. 5, in Peach Belt Conference volleyball play.

Flagler dominated the first set 25-11with 13 kills that were just too much for the Patriots to handle.

The second setwould see more back-and-forth play,with five ties and three lead changes. A kill by Flagler senior outside hitter Dianna Craine tied the set at 13-13 and an attack error by FMU junior outside hitter Megan Mooney gave Flagler a lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the set. Flagler evenwithstood six service errors in the second game.

To the delight of the FMU crowd, the Patriots won set three 25-22.

But after the much needed win in set three, the Patriots fell behind 3-0 to start set four and were simply not able to tie the score or take the lead again.

Flagler’s lead grew to 8-3 later in the fourth set.However, the Patriots got close by cutting the lead down to 13-11 after a well-timed kill by freshman outside hitterAlexzandraReed. But from that point on, Flagler scored five of the next six points and snatched away all of the momentum. Even when the Patriots trimmed the lead to 18-15, the Saints bent but did not break.The Saints won the fourth set 25-18.

Patriots fan Keisha Clifton was very disappointed in the misfortune and lack of execution from the Patriots volleyball team but remained optimistic on the team’s effort.

“They came out kind of sluggish early,” Clifton said. “I think the slow start is what killed them in the end. The girls picked up the pace in the second set but couldn’t quite pull off the win.  They actually won the third set impressively.The effort was definitely there, some balls just wouldn’t bounce their way all night long.It’s like that sometimes.I hope they can bounce back.”

The Patriots rallied from the slow start thanks in large part to the poised play of Alexzandra Reed, but still came up short in the end. Reed compiled a career-high 11 kills on 26 swings along with a .385 attack percentage. FMU sophomore setter Sloane Shank dished out a whopping 19 assists, while sophomore libero Meghan Peji reeled in a career-high 19 digs for the night.

For Flagler, senior outside hitter Dianna Craine led the way with 15 kills, 16 digs and a .344 attack percentage.Junior Emilee Taylor added 12 kills, 11 digs and four blocks, while freshman setter Amelia Morgan dished out 45 assists. Libero Casey Gnann recorded 19 digs. Gnann came into the match ranked fifth nationally with six digs per set.

FMU Head Coach Paul MacDonald was disappointed in the loss but stressed the fact that the team must move on as they have big conference games ahead.

“We don’t have much time to harp over the loss,” MacDonald said.  “We have three more big conference games ahead that we need to win and that is what we are going to concentrate on.”

The Patriots’ road will not get any easier with November fast approaching. FMU recentlyplayed tough matches against Montevallo and Augusta State in the comfort of their home court.

Flagler moved to 10-6 on the season and 3-0 in the Peach Belt Conference, while the Patriots fell to 9-6 and 1-3 in conference play.

FMU will be back at home in a non-conference match against Barton College on Oct. 23.