Eagles battle back to beat Central Florida

Suared Molina made 26 digs as the Eagles rallied to defeat Central Florida 3-2. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)
Suared Molina made 26 digs as the Eagles rallied to defeat Central Florida 3-2. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)

Still undefeated! 

Trailing 0-2, Polk State soared back to win the final three sets against Central Florida (No. 5 FCSAA, No. 12 NJCAA) last night in Ocala. 

With the victory, the Eagles (No. 1 FCSAA/NJCAA) improve to 19-0.  

The Patriots, coached by former Polk State assistant Israel Delgado, took the first two sets 25-23 and 25-22.  

Tied 20-20 in set three, the Eagles went on to win 25-23. 

Trailing 7-12 in the fourth set, they scored six unanswered points to take a 13-12 lead and win 25-20. 

The Eagles dominated the final set, jumping out to a 10-2 advantage and going on to win 15-6 win.  

"We faced a lot of adversity last night," said Head Coach German Del Valle. 

"I think our team struggled not because we played bad but because Central Florida made us struggle. But we changed some things on them in the third set and got back to basics and trusted each other and regained our confidence. 

"I always say, 'When you play in Florida you have to come to play every night,' and last night we had to really play to win." 

Del Valle credits sophomore Aixa Vigil with playing a key role in the contest. 

"You're going to have key players and role players and last night our role players were amazing. I've asked Aixa to play different positions and do different things, and I think she grew tremendously in last night's game She showed leadership we haven't seen from her before."  

With the victory, the Eagles clinched first place in the Mid-Florida Conference, guaranteeing them a trip to the state tournament. 

Manuela Ibarguen posted double figures in kills (22) and digs (10). 

Suared Molina made 26 digs and five assists. 

Milexa Cardona recorded 44 assists, 16 digs, six kills, and two blocks. 

Vigil tallied double figures in kills (17) and digs (17) to go with two assists, a block, and an ace. 

Mariane Cassiano contributed 11 digs, six kills, two assists, and a block. 

Nina Finderle added four blocks, three digs, two kills, and an assist. 

Keren Souza finished with six digs, two blocks, and a kill. 

Mariana Donado had five digs and two aces, while Nicole Kuchma had two digs and a pair of aces. 

The Eagles conclude Mid-Florida Conference play Thursday with a 7 p.m. match at Daytona State (12-5, 3-2, No. 6 FCSAA).  They end the regular season Oct. 17 with a 6 p.m. match at Florida State College at Jacksonville (8-6, No. 10 FCSAA).



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