Volleyball drops five-set thriller to Santa Fe

Volleyball drops five-set thriller to Santa Fe

OCALA--The College of Central Florida volleyball team was unable to maintain sole possession of first place in the Mid-Florida Conference on Tuesday night.

The Patriots (15-7, 4-1) saw rival Santa Fe College come into Ocala and emerge victorious for the second time in as many meetings at the CF Gym. Santa Fe downed CF 16-25, 25-15, 25-23, 20-25, 15-9 on Tuesday night.

The Saints, who lost to Daytona State this past Tuesday night, improved to 2-2 all-time against CF. This was the third time in four meetings between the programs where the match went to five sets.

The win by the Saints (16-3, 4-1) enabled the road team to improve to 3-0 all-time in the series. CF won the other meeting on a neutral floor in an elimination match in last year's state tournament.

SFC, who won in four sets last season to earn a tie for the MFC title, closed the match on an 8-1 run after CF had taken an 8-6 lead following a 4-0 run.

The Patriots appeared to have the momentum after Rafaela Fonseca took over during the fourth set with four kills down the stretch. Fonseca's kill following a SFC service error knotted the match up, but the Saints would quickly get the momentum to start the tiebreaker.

SFC jumped to a 3-0 lead, however, CF kept battling and took its first lead of the tiebreaker at 7-6 following a kill by Nathaly Alvarez. After a hitting error by SFC, the Patriots were hit with a 4-0 run and never got closer than one point the rest of the way.

CF was dominant early in the opening set, as Julia Azevedo had seven kills during a 13-3 run that closed out SFC. From there, the Saints raced out to a 12-2 lead in the second set and led by as many as 12 on their way to tying the match.

The Saints then built a 22-17 advantage in the third set, but watched as CF hit them with a 5-0 run to tie things up. SFC, though, got two kills by Jane Early and an ace by Kasey Valentin to curb CF's momentum and go up 2-1 the match.

CF will return to action with a home match tomorrow night at 6 p.m. against Daytona State. The Patriots won in three sets in the earlier meeting.