Sept. 12, 2008
LAKELAND, Fla. - West Florida opened weekend play at the Florida Southern South Region Crossover on Friday evening, facing Lynn University in the nightcap. The No. 17 Argos fell 3-2 in their first match to the regional opponent to bring their record to 6-3 for the season.
Error was the name of the set as the Argos and Fighting Knights battled in set number one, as Lynn edged West Florida 25-22. Both teams fought through service and attacking errors to complete the first set, both hitting under .200. Each team had 12 kills each and collectively tallied nine service errors and nine attacking errors. West Florida's typically powerful offense was held by Lynn, as Patricia Gandolfo (Porto Alegre, Brazil/Missouri State-West Plains CC) recorded just four kills and Luciana Rapach (Porto Alegre, Brazil/Iowa Western CC) tallied just two.
The Argos jumped out in set two with a five point lead, looking to find their rhythm. Despite struggling early on in the set, the Argos picked up the pace to record a second-set win, 25-18. Sophomore Chelsea Wilhoite (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny HS) headed the UWF offense, totalling five kills and a .312 hitting percentage.
Set three began with a 2-1 West Florida deficit, but as the teams battled through several rallies the score tied at five. Gandolfo answered the call with two service aces to return the lead to the Argos. The Argos and Fighting Knights again scrambled through set three. Tied at 18, a Kara Gonzalez (St. Augustine, Fla./St. Augustine HS) kill gave West Florida the lead, but they would soon drop it and the match, 24-26.
Things looked to be going downhill for West Florida at the start of set four, as they battled for the lead. However, a seven point rally due much in part to the serves of sophomore Jamie Nichols (Crawfordville, Fla./Wakulla HS) gave UWF the lead and the momentum they had been lacking. The Argos' Wilhoite came alive in set four, posting four kills and two blocks. Nichols totaled five kills and three service aces, with a .571 hitting percentage. West Florida would pull off a 25-21 win to tie the match.
Tied at two with Lynn, West Florida entered their first fifth set of the season. The teams began the fifth set neck-and-neck, but Lynn would take the lead at 4-3 and West Florida would never recover, surrendering the final set to the Fighting Knights 10-15. Wilhoite and Rapach each tallied three kills, but neither would be enough to earn a win.
Wilhoite went on to lead the offense and total 18 kills for the entire match. However, Rapach finished the match with 11 kills and a .310 hitting percentage, despite taking the floor for the first time since an ankle injury took her down last weekend at the Colorado Premier Challenge. An offensive leader, the All-American also produced defensively for the Argos and posted a record-breaking 30 digs in a single match. Both Nichols and Gandolfo recorded ten kills each, but numbers were still low in West Florida's third loss of the season.
The Argos continue crossover play beginning tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. ET as they take on Tampa University. UWF will then close out the tournament, facing host team Florida Southern at 6 p.m. ET. Fans can follow all the action at www.GoArgos.com.