DAVIE, Fla. -- One thing is for sure, Barry is playing its best volleyball at the right time of the year.
Tuesday night, the Buccaneers beat Nova Southeastern, 18-25, 25-23, 29-27, 25-17, marking this growing-in-confidence team's fourth straight win.
Why, you ask, is that important?
Postseason play remains a possibility.
Barry (15-11, 7-6 Sunshine State Conference) will attempt to improve its NCAA Tournament resume in a high-opportunity match against South Region No. 3-ranked Palm Beach Atlantic (32-3) at 7 p.m. in Miami Shores. The Buccaneers, who are expected to move into the top eight in the region poll after knocking off the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds on the road over the weekend, battled the Sailfish to five sets earlier this season before giving way on PBA's home floor.
Now the Sailfish are coming to Buccaneer country.
Getting back to Tuesday ...
The Bucs overcame a miserable start, attacking -.156 with seven kills and 12 errors in the first set when they hung on for a narrow win in the second set to even the match at 1-1. Then it got interesting.
Barry, which led by as many as six a little over the midway point in the third set, watched Nova Southeastern (4-24, 1-11) reel off nine of the next 11 points to take a 20-19 lead on Caitlin Donahue's kill. Sydney Cook gave Sharks a two-point lead, and after a series of three straight sideouts for each team, Nova inched within a point of going up 2-1 in the match. But a Nova attacking error, a kill by Barry freshman middle blocker Tashalyn Begon and another by fellow first-year middle Laine Cielena pushed the Bucs ahead 25-24.
Nova regained control, 27-26, four points later on a Buccaneers' service error, but Begon responded with a clutch kill to tie it up again. A Nova hitting error and Mima Hajdukovic kill put a wrap to the pivotal third set, moving Barry ahead, 2-1, in the match.
Begon, who finished with nine kills, nine digs and four blocks, accounted for seven of Barry's points, including the final three, in the third set.
In the final set, with Jasmine Serna serving, Barry sprinted to a 20-13 lead on Begon's putaway. She banged home another kill to keep the Bucs' lead at seven two serves later, and Barry rode out its lead the rest of the way to seal the deal.
Cielena had a team-best 11 kills, hitting .269. Kate Dooley hit .500 on four kills in eight attempts without an error, and had six blocks. Tania Torres had nine kills and three blocks. Hajdukovic had 36 assists and four aces, and Ashley Carrero eight kills, 10 digs and a solo block. Mariana Lisboa had two of the Bucs' eight aces, and 12 of the team's 59 digs.
Barry converted 77 percent of its sideout opportunities in the final set, and attacked .306 for its highest hitting rate of the four sets in the match.