FPC rebounded in the fourth set to put the match away.
Although Flagler Palm Coast led the match 2-1 and were in control for much of the night, the Bulldogs found themselves down to rival Matanzas 24-23 in the fourth set. After dominating the opening two frames, the Bulldogs were thoroughly defeated in the third set 25-13.
Was the momentum, and the match, slipping away?
“We were just kind of out of synch,” FPC’s Mariah Siebert said. “Matanzas had better energy.”
After a serve by FPC’s Ele Barnaby, the Pirates were in a prime position to put the period away with an exclamation point slam by Brianna Whitfield, one of the area’s top hitters — but the shot was blocked.
The Bulldogs’ Adesuwa Salami rocketed into the air and pounded the ball back onto the Pirates’ side of the court.
“There are pivotal plays where you get one and all of the sudden it turns the momentum around,” FPC coach Trent Schake said. “That was one of those plays.”
The Bulldogs scored three straight points to close out the set and win the match 3-1 the night of Thursday, Oct. 3, at Matanzas High School. The win guaranteed the season sweep of the Pirates.
“It’s always fun playing them,” Schake said of Matanzas. “They always come ready to compete and they always take us as far as we can go. It was a great night.”
Thursday night marked the Bulldogs’ 13th win of the season. Before 2019, they had won 11 games total since the 2014 season.
“We’ve really grown and bonded together,” Siebert said. “We’ve learned to play as a team and we’re just gelling.”
However, Schake noted his team wasn’t as sharp as it’s been in recent games but was pleased with the style of volleyball his girls were able to play.
“We are making it work,” he said. “We’re playing the style we want to play: a little faster, more controlled volleyball. We’re doing that a little more consistently this season than we ever have been.”
FPC’s regular season concludes at home on Thursday, Oct. 10, against St. Joseph Academy.
“It’s just so exciting,” Schake said. “These girls haven’t seen this in a long time. They’ve worked really hard to get to this level.”