ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The University of Tampa defeated the Eckerd College Tritons four sets with scores of 21-25, 27-25, 25-23, and 25-19. The Spartans move to 4-4 in SSC play, while the Tritons fall to 3-5.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa 3, Eckerd 1 (21-25, 27-25, 25-23, 25-19)
Records: Tampa Spartans (9-10, 4-4 SSC), Eckerd Tritons (10-6, 3-5 SSC)
Location: McArthur Center | St. Petersburg, Fla.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
Set 1 | Eckerd College took the first set 25-21. After EC missed their first serve, Sammy Mueller headed back to the service line to record her first ace of the match. Mueller then went on to dish out 11 assists in the set, in addition to logging one kill and one block. Offensively, Tampa rallied behind the efforts of sophomore Nicole Dominguez who hit an outstanding .625 with five kills on eight attempts. Molly McAlvany suited up as libero for the Spartans, stating a team-high of four digs in the set. Despite their best efforts Tampa was unable to stop middle blocker Stephanie Karlovics who led the Tritons on offense with five kills on five attempts, hitting a perfect 1.000.
Set 2 | In the second game, UT's offense seemed to find more of a groove. Taylor Fosler had a team-high of five kills in the set hitting .462 on the match. Dominguez picked up three more kills, while pin hitters Nylah Demps and Sorrel Houghton each had three. Defensive specialist Kaitlyn Ajmani came up big for the Spartans, leading them in digs with four on the set. A huge momentum changer in the set was when senior Jen Aprile checked in to serve and recorded back-to-back aces. UT continued to use Mueller as the primary setter recording 11 additional assists. Tampa then subbed in freshman Melissa Elias when the set got tight, who was able to finish the set with a stuff block. Tampa won set two 27-25.
Set 3 | After intermission, Tampa took the court proving they were a force not to be reckoned with. Once again, Dominguez and Fosler carried the Spartans offense with five and three kills respectively. Additionally, Demps and Houghton had three kills apiece. McAlvany balled out on defense for Tampa recording 12 digs in the set. Mueller tallied 13 more assists in addition to picking up three digs. Tampa ended the third set with a final score of 25-23.
Set 4 | Two words… BLOCK PARTY! UT took the fourth set with a final score of 25-19. The team came away huge defensively with five blocks in the fourth set alone. Offensively, Dominguez ended the match with 16 kills hitting .195. Following the efforts of Dominguez, was Fosler who ended with 12 kills and a kill percentage of .458. Additionally, Houghton had a stellar set with four kills, also ending the match with 12 total. Defensively, McAlvany and Ajmani continued to shine, with four and three digs respectively.
INSIDE THE STATS:
• Taylor Fosler hit a whopping .458 with 12 kills on 24 attempts with only one error. Additionally, she contributed to two blocks for UT.
• Molly McAlvany recorded her season-high of 22 digs. She also logged two assists and one ace for UT.
• Jen Aprile was one of the toughest servers on the court tonight, acing the Tritons on two different occasions. The other, Eckerd's setter Fernanda Reis, who also had two aces in the match.
• Sammy Mueller recorded a season high of 45 assists. Additionally, she logged seven digs, three kills and one service ace for the Spartans.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
• Tampa leads the all-time series against the Tritons 90-2, having not lost to them since October of 2011.
The Spartans will continue the 2017 season later this week with a pair of home matches against the Nova Southeastern Sharks and the Barry Buccaneers on Friday and Saturday respectively. Friday will be the squad's annual Breast Cancer Awareness game, so don't forget to wear pink. Live stats and a live video webcast will be provided through www.tampaspartans.com.
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