LAKELAND, Fla.—After dropping the opening set to Keiser University (9-10, 1-5 TSC), the Fire (14-2, 6-1 TSC) quickly rebounded to take the match 3-1 (20-25, 27-25, 25-23, 25-16). The home win marks the tenth straight victory by Southeastern in the Furnace.
SEU struggled to find its stride early in the competition, hitting a mere .125 in the opening set, as Keiser took the first frame by a score of 25-20. The Seahawks killed a match-high 16 attack attempts to go up 1-0.
Following the slow start, the Fire responded with an offensive explosion. Emily Kalmink, who tallied five of her season-high 16 kills in the second set, captained Southeastern to a tight 27-25 victory to even the match at one.
Kalmink added another eight kills in the third frame, as the Fire came back from a 5-2 deficit to win another close set 25-23 and take a 2-1 advantage over the Seahawks. The senior finished with an unprecedented match-high .583 hitting percentage, her second-highest of the year.
“After the first set, we were able to identify the small things we were doing wrong and fix those. Emily really stepped up and demanded the ball. As an upperclassman, she did a fantastic job today.” Coach Audrey Goldsberry said of Kalmink.
Southeastern’s block shut down the Keiser offense, recording 17 blocks on the day, led by Taylor Gregory, who rejected nine of KU’s attacks. In what would be the final stanza, the Fire stuffed four Seahawk attack attempts to clinch the victory with a 25-16 win.
“We just needed to work on the small things, like getting up a little sooner on the block, which helped us bring it back together and start scoring again. Our setter was setting me really well so that helped a lot to.” Kalmink mentioned. Goldsberry added, “our block is really what kept us alive and gave us the energy to get back into the match”.
Setter Courtney Krause assisted on 43 kills for the Fire, while Avery Bradshaw contributed to the comeback with a double-double, registering team-highs of 17 kills and 15 digs for the Fire.
“Going into next week we’re going to have to focus on quality instead of quantity. We have to focus on doing what we do rather than focusing on everyone around us.” Goldsberry commented.
The Fire will host Ave Maria in the Furnace on Tuesday at 7 p.m.