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Tampa tops Mocs, advances to final

© St. Petersburg Times
published November 24, 2002

TAMPA -- At 6-6 this season, Tampa coach Chris Catanach thought it would take an improbable run of 20 straight wins to reach 600 career victories.

Mission accomplished.

Behind the strong play of outside hitter Ania Ruiz, the Spartans helped Catanach reach the milestone and advanced to the final of the Division II Volleyball South Region with a 30-15, 30-20, 30-23 win against Florida Southern on Saturday at Bob Martinez Sports Complex.

"Knock on wood, our goal was to peak at the end," Catanach said. "That's when you try and peak and we think we're playing really well."

Ruiz registered game highs in kills (13) and aces (six). Top-seeded Tampa faces No. 2 Barry, which the Spartans have defeated twice this season, at 4 p.m. today.

"(Ruiz) is a big jumper and she was real aggressive with her serve tonight," Catanach said. "She was on tonight, service-wise."

Ruiz had four aces, including three straight, during a six-point run in the first game that opened a 12-3 cushion. Florida Southern pulled within 23-20 in the second, but a 7-0 spurt finished the Moccasins. Tampa rallied from a 8-2 deficit in the third and took the lead for good at 12-11 on a Ruiz spike.

Barry advanced after beating North Florida 22-28, 28-30, 30-27, 30-27, 15-11.

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