By: Brandon Vossberg
It was a night to celebrate, Conference Win and Pink Night
“Dig Pink” was the theme of the night on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at the Lou Ross Center, as Pensacola State Volleyball raised funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Research.
PSC’s volleyball team played like champions and beat their conference rivals, Gulf Coast State College. The Pirates won in a nerve-wrenching five set match, starting slow in each set but determinedly winning their first conference game.
In the opening set, the ladies fell behind quickly. At 13-9, with GCSC on top, PSC began to gain some momentum with a player combination that would prove to be their strongest asset all night. An assist from sophomore Taylor Linton to sophomore Bianca Brown, would give the Pirates a spark of confidence.
A great dig by their libero, Victoria Smith, would lead to a point, making it 12-14; Smith ended the night with 23 digs. From there it was back and forth for multiple points. A time out was called which proved to be a turning point in the set. The Pirates would win the next four points and lead 23-21. For the remainder of the set, it was point for point, but the ladies managed to close it out, 25-23.
The second set started slow again for PSC, falling behind 6-2. With a great kill by sophomore Katie Jones, the Pirates gained some ground to make it 9-8 but it was not enough and Gulf Coast would finish the set 25-20 and tying the match at a set apiece.
In the third set, PSC had a better start. However, they still fell behind and managed to trail by 7 points to their rivals. At 17-11, the ladies would rattle off a streak of 7 straight points with outstanding serves by freshman Caitlin Chapman and numerous 1-2 combos of sets and spikes, by Linton and Brown.
“It just felt right tonight,” Brown said. “We had good chemistry.”
Linton and Brown were definitely the catalyst to the team’s success. Brown ended the night with 20+ hits and Linton followed that up with 40+assists.
After the match Linton added, “We came out ready this time, we played with nerves the last time we played them and tonight we just said go hard or go home.”
At 17 apiece, the set went back and forth again, point for point. With some great hits by Chapman, Jones and an ace from Ali Gerzina, the Pirates found a way and took a 2-1 set lead.
True to their play all night long, the Pirates fell behind from the start of the fourth set and could not recover. Even with great efforts from Rachel Cooper and Katie Jones, the Pirates could not gain any momentum and lost 18 to 25.
The game went to the fifth set and even though PSC lost the opening point, the ladies took the lead and did not look back. The last set provided the fans with great individual performances and fantastic team efforts, but the one-two combo of Linton to Brown sealed the deal for the Pirates and the ladies went on to win their first conference game of the year and their twentieth win of the season, giving the fans something to cheer about.
“It’s nice to beat your rival and conference opponent,” said Head Coach Chris Laird. “We finally put some things together and ball control was a key player in that.”