Trip to Embry-Riddle precedes emotional rematch with rival SCAD
By Devon Jeffreys
Flagler Volleyball enters their final two matches of the season ready to take on two very familiar foes.
The Lady Saints have their final road match of the season against Embry-Riddle on Nov. 1, in Daytona. They then host SCAD in their final match of the season on Nov. 3.
The two matches against, arguably, Flagler’s two biggest rivals will have a lot to do with whether they can term this season a success. The final two matches parallel the two matches that ended last season for the Lady Saints in the final two rounds of the NAIA Regional Tournament. The Lady Saints took an emotional victory over the Eagles in the tournament semifinals before falling to the Bees in the finals the next day.
The Lady Saints know that going to Daytona to Embry-Riddle is going to be tough.
“You have to prepare yourself,” sophomore middle blocker Leah Melton said. “They’re the worst fans, I think, that we deal with.”
Flagler swept Embry-Riddle at Flagler Gym earlier this year.
This time, the Lady Saints are hoping for a better result against SCAD. They lost to the Bees 3-0 in Savannah earlier this season.
“We didn’t perform when we played them the first time and they beat us and it sucked,” Melton said. “It felt bad and that’s probably our toughest loss all year. We’ve got that and we’re going to use that and go out there and play our game, be the team that we know we are.”
The match will be an emotional one for the Lady Saints as they honor senior setter Carrie Arnette on “Senior Night” in her final game.
Before they could get to Embry-Riddle and SCAD, the Lady Saints had to get the rest of their season out of the way. They did just that, going 10-4 over the last three weeks to gain some momentum.
With a 3-0 victory over Northwood on Oct. 17, the Lady Saints clinched their sixth consecutive 20-win season under coach Taylor Mott. According to Mott, recruiting has been a key factor in her team’s continued success.
“I think where I’ve been successful is that I’ve recruited girls that are a good fit for Flagler,” Mott said. “It makes a big difference when you have girls who really want to be here.”
The Lady Saints followed the Northwood victory with a 3-2 weekend at the SCAD Invitational where Justine Burkhardt was named to the all tournament team.
“We finished as the seventh team,” Mott said. “And to have a player on the all tournament team when there were six teams that finished better than we did, I thought that was pretty remarkable.”
The Lady Saints then hit the road to Miami. They had a match scheduled against St. Thomas but never got on the court. St. Thomas forfeited the match because they did not have enough players and Flagler won by default. Well rested, they faced Florida Memorial the next day and cruised to a 3-0 victory.