The BlueWave volleyball team of Florida State College at Jacksonville punched their ticket to the NJCAA Region / FCSAA State Volleyball Tournament.
Traveling to a neutral site, Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, FL, the BlueWave were set to face the Pioneers of Indian River State College. The BlueWave were set on walking out that gym meeting two goals, a win to qualify them for a State Tournament appearance and to avenge the first loss of the season that the Pioneers handed them.
The BlueWave came out hot from the first serve and rode their hype and momentum to an easy first set victory 25-17. The IRSC Pioneers were not phased and bounced back to a 25-20 win in the second set. Both FSCJ and IRSC teams were fairly matched in talent and drive, making it a battle that resulted in each winning one of the next two sets. With a trip to the State Tournament on the line, both teams seemed to tightened up their defense as they headed into the fifth and final set. IRSC jumped to a 3-1 lead on two costly errors by the FSCJ but they managed to buckle down and fight back. Led by a trio of kills from Ketura Margaret, Jana Cuk and Elizabeth Sandoval the Pioneers were forced to call a timeout. The BlueWave continued their momentum and built a five-point lead at 11-6. With the team losing their focus and feeling secure, they took their foot off the gas and allowed IRSC to regain a few points. This time FSCJ would be calling the time out to regroup. Both team battling for the next few points, the BlueWave would eventually prevail 15-11 and secured their spot to the State Tournament.
FSCJ was led offensively by freshman outside hitter Ketura Margaret's 13 kills and 11 from Jana Cuk. Krystal Santiago's 28 digs, Leah Mortenson's 37 assists along with Dyrenna Harris's4 blocks also contributed to the win.
Motivated by a loss that cost FSCJ a chance at the conference title and an automatice spot in the State Tournament, they have been on a five game winning streak. The BlueWave were determined to make a State Tournament appearance since they would be hosting. That drive not only help them to tonight's win but to also down the #1 team in the country and two of the top 10 ranked teams in the state.
According to Coach Poitier, "I think that the team is starting to come together at the right time. At the beginning of the year we struggled to find the right chemistry, but I believe we have ironed out some of the kinks. I feel if we play the way we are capable of playing, no team would be safe facing us".
The top eight teams from the state, which boast four of the top teams in the nation, will soon converge on the campus of FSCJ in Jacksonville, Florida from November 1-3 for the NJCAA Region / FCSAA State Volleyball Tournament. The BlueWave will see action again at home on Friday November 1st as they face Miami Dade at 1:00 pm in State Tournament action.