Panthers named Division II Gulf District Tournament runner-up
Palm Beach State College’s volleyball team was named the FCSAA/NJCAA Division II Gulf District Tournament runner-up Nov. 5 after being defeated by Gulf Coast State College in the Gulf District Championship game. They end the season 13-7.
During the tournament, which began Friday, Nov. 4, the Panthers first played South Florida State College. That victory advanced them to the Gulf District Tournament Semi Finals vs. Pensacola State College.
The Panthers entered as winners of 10 games in a row, while the Pirates were undefeated in their last 14.
The first set defined the tone for the whole match-up. The Panthers raced out to a quick 4-0 lead. The Pirates scored eight of the next 10 points and took an 8-6 lead over the Panthers. The back and forth continued as the Pirates took a 14-10 lead over the Panthers, leading the Panthers to call a timeout. That was a timeout well needed. The Panthers go on their own 10-4 run and took a 20-18 lead that they kept in winning the first set 25-22.
The second set was just like the first. Pensacola jumps out to their own 6-3 lead, with the Panthers responding with a 6-3 run of their own to tie it at nine each. The teams traded two-point leads with the Panthers going up 12-10, then the Pirates leading 14-12, the Panthers got back on top with a 19-17 lead. The Panthers were unable to hold off the Pirates however, as they go on an 8-3 run and win the second set 25-22 and tie it at one set a piece.
Set number three belonged to the Panthers. A quick 6-1 lead for the Panthers caused the Pirates to take a timeout. Palm Beach State was able to keep the momentum as they led 14-7 when the Pirates called their second timeout of the set. Palm Beach State never looked back and won the third set 21-14.
The fourth set didn’t have either team jumping out to a quick lead like the previous three sets. A back-and-forth game led the Panthers to take a timeout trailing 11-7. The Panthers come back and make it 13-10, leading the Pirates to call a timeout. The Panthers would cut the lead to one a couple of times but were unable to tie it up and drop the fourth set 25-20, bringing up a winner take all fifth set.
The Panthers and Pirates trade points, however, the Panthers trailed 8-6 as they switch sides in the fifth set. That was the changing point for the Panthers. Palm Beach State goes on a 7-3 run to win the fifth set 15-9.
With the victory, the Panthers advanced to the Gulf District Championship game against #17 nationally ranked Gulf Coast State College.
During the game, the Panthers raced out to a two set to none lead, needing only one more set to clinch victory. However, that set never came. After winning the first set 25-21, the Panthers did even better in the second set, winning 25-14. Gulf Coast came out on fire in the third set, winning that one 25-14. Gulf Coast kept that momentum going in the fourth set and won in a thrilling 25-22 set. The Panthers were unable to take any lead in the decisive fifth set and lost 15-9.
The Panthers started their season at 1-6 and could have gone in any direction. But the team stuck together, rallied off 12 wins a row, captured the Sun-Lakes Conference South Division Championship and finished as the Gulf District Tournament runner-up. Gulf Coast State College now goes on to play in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament Nov. 17-19 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
For more information on the Panther Volleyball Team and PBSC athletics, visit www.pbscpanthers.com.