VIDEO: CF Gym goes crazy after five-set victory. CLICK HERE to watch.
OCALA-- After taking a shot from Daytona State, the College of Central Florida volleyball responded in a major way in a battle between nationally-ranked programs.
Trailing 2-1 after a 10-point loss in the third set, the Patriots rallied with wins in the final two sets and downed the Falcons 25-19, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 15-12 on Tuesday night in the Mid-Florida Conference opener for both teams.
"We played well at the end and the girls never gave up," CF coach Flavia Siqueira said. "They fought hard and we came away with a very important win."
CF (12-3), ranked third in the state and eighth in the nation, is now 11-0 at home all-time against conference opponents.
The Patriots avenged a five-set loss to the Falcons (15-3) earlier this season at the Hillsborough Community College Tournament. CF's loss to DSC has no bearing on the conference standings, but its rally on Tuesday night has it sitting atop the MFC.
CF, which is now 3-1 all-time against DSC, used six kills from Julymar Otero in the final set to put away the Falcons.
It was the fourth straight time the Patriots and Falcons went to five sets except this match had numerous shifts in momentum.
The final shift was paced by Otero, who had a kill to push her team to a 13-11 lead in the tiebreaker after the Falcons had failed to tie CF for the fourth time in the final set.
CF, though, recovered and Adami fed Otero with a pass and the lefty slammed it home for the win and a wild celebration for the packed house in attendance.
The Patriots appeared to be shaken following a 25-15 loss in the third set, but with things looking bleak, they pulled them together.
Three kills by Jasmyn Perry launched a 7-1 run in the fourth set that put the hosts ahead 15-9.
The Falcons got as close as five, but Otero, Perry Griffin and Saunders, used the passing of Adami to make life tough on DSC.
CF carried the momentum into the fifth set, as Otero had three early kills, which helped the hosts roll to a 9-3 edge.
DSC responded with a 5-0 run to get to within one, but were never able to match the Patriots down the stretch.
Otero led CF with 21 kills and five blocks. She made just three errors and backed up a tremendous previous effort against DSC where she had 20 kills and 12 digs.
Yaralismar Rodriguez (25 digs) had a strong effort at libero, while Adami dished out 44 assists.
Griffin contributed six blocks and Perry totaled five kills without an error in the momentum-shifting fourth set.
"It really helped us having an extra hitter in the fourth set," Siqueira said. "(Perry) really played an important role for us."
CF opened things with a strong effort in the first set.
Neither team led by more than one point in the opener up to the point there was a 10-all, but the Patriots got consecutive blocks from Saunders, as part of a 9-3 run.
CF led by as many as eight in the first set and held off a late charge by the Falcons, thanks to a kill by Marcela Frazzoni.
In the second set, the Patriots led only once at 1-0, but had their chances after they battled to a 22-all tie after trailing by as many as four.
The Falcons scored the final three points of the second set and then jumped out fast in the third set, but CF was able to capture the momentum over the final two sets to grab the early conference lead.
The Patriots host Lake Sumter State on Thursday night at 7 p.m. for their second conference matchup of the season.