MELBOURNE, Fla. – The University of Tampa defeated the Florida Institute of Technology Panthers three sets to two in a five-set thriller. The Spartans move to 3-4 in SSC play, while the Panthers fall to 2-6.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa 3, Florida Tech 2 (22-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-20,15-10)
Records: Tampa Spartans (5-10, 2-4 SSC), Florida Tech (4-7, 2-6 SSC)
Location: Charles & Ruth Clemente Center | Melbourne, Fla.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
Set 1 | Florida Tech took the first set 25-22. Freshman Sorrel Houghton led Tampa on offense with six kills at a .600 kill percentage. Following the efforts of Demps was middle hitter Taylor Fosler who ended the set with four kills. Libero Kasey Reynolds defended the Panthers on seven different occasions, while Sammy Mueller and Jen Aprile set for UT with nine and eight assists respectively. The set was a battle until the final point, with the Panthers coming out on top.
Set 2 | In the second game, setters Mueller and Aprile did a nice job of distributing the ball to multiple offensive threats for UT. Nicole Dominguez picked up three kills and one block for the Spartans, while fellow attackers Houghton, Fosler, and Demps all had one. Despite kills coming from multiple players, the Spartans were unable to defend Tech's pin hitter Tania Kottke who had six kills in the set hitting .417. Even with the help of Florida Tech's four missed serves in the set, the Spartans could not keep up with the Panthers. The Panthers won set two, 25-18.
Set 3 | After intermission, Tampa took the court hangry. Coach Chris Catanach moved around some personnel, including freshman Kaitlyn Ajmani to libero, still using Reynolds in the back row as a DS, switching Courtney Vogler to the middle opposite Fosler, and also made Mueller the sole setter. Mueller picked up two kills for the Spartans in addition to having 10 assists and a service ace. Dominguez led the Spartans offensively with four kills in the set, followed by Fosler with three. Additionally, Dominguez led the team on defense in the set with seven digs followed by Ajmani with four. The Spartans did not let up and were able to close out the set with a victory over the Panthers 25-17.
Set 4 | UT took the fourth set 25-20. The Spartans kept the same lineup they used in the third set but moved sophomore Courtney Randazzo into the middle. Houghton continued to serve as the Tampa's main offensive weapon with five kills, followed by Fosler with four, Demps with three, and Dominguez and Randazo with two. The Panthers tried to battle back but ultimately were not able to stop UT.
Set 5 | Starting the fifth, the momentum from set four followed the Spartans as they were able to get out to an early lead through playing complimentary volleyball. Everyone on the team did their part and contributed to the team's 15-10 win. Demps had three huge kills in addition to a service ace, that kicked the Panthers while they were down. Additionally, Reynolds had a spectacular, noteworthy dig in the back row, igniting even more enthusiasm to Tampa's side of the net. Mueller did a spectacular job quarterbacking the offense to victory, ending the match with a total of 40 assists, 11 digs, three kills, one block and one service ace on the night.
INSIDE THE STATS:
• Nicole Dominguez recorded her fourth double-double of the season, with 11 kills and 17 digs in the match. Her 17 digs matched her season-high, having also dug it 17 times on two other occasions. Additionally, she recorded two assists, one block and one service ace for the Spartans.
• Nylah Demps also logged a double-double, her second of the season. Demps ended the night with 12 kills, 14 digs, one assist, two service aces and one block for Tampa. Also, her 14 digs marked a new career and season high.
• Sorrell Houghton stated a team-high of 16 kills at a phenomenal .342 kill percentage. In addition, she picked up three blocks for the Spartans.
• Sammy Mueller recorded a double-double with 40 assists and 11 digs for UT. This also marked her new season-high in both assists and kills with 40 and three respectively. Being one of the few players who didn't come out of the game in the last three sets, she also earned one block and one service ace on the night.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
• Tampa leads the all-time series against the Panthers 82-0.
The Spartans will then continue the 2017 season traveling to Birmingham, Alabama for the South Region Crossover October 13th and 14th. Live stats and a live video webcast will be provided through www.tampaspartans.com.
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