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Freaky Bizarro Hat Trick Friday; Grace (launch and) Land.

Apparently, the football team sucked up all the end of week good fortune. Three FIU sports teams closed Friday with losses, although at the least the volleyball team went .500 on the day. So, they earn the leadoff spot...


"September's Blue Raider Bash" sounds like a back-to-school party. The volleyballfest held at Middle Tennessee State packs four matches in three days for FIU. The Gilded Cats popped Austin Peay 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-20), then took a 2-1 lead on Auburn before losing the last two games 25-18 and 17-15. In the fifth set, FIU actually led 15-14.

Jovana Bjelica racked up 45 kills between the two matches, setting a career-high of 21 against APeay and beating that with 24 against Auburn. Also, against Auburn Bjelica had 14 digs. Earlier Saturday, she had FIU's only service ace of the day. Redshirt freshman Jessica Egan dished out 24 assists.

The five-set loss leaves FIU 3-2 on the season and 22-7 in five-setters since coach Danijela Tomic took over. Saturday at 8:30, they face Missouri.


Missouri-Kansas City came to West Dade with a seven-game road losing streak that goes back to last season, an 0-1-2 record this season, only one goal on the season and laboring under the school teams' nickname "Kangaroos." (Cool animal. Just a very busy name for your school teams...)

Yet the Marsupials from Missouri were able to pump in three goals on FIU, the last of which came with 1:22 left in overtime, and left FIU on the wrong end of a 3-2 score and 2-3 record. It's the second game of the season, along with the opening loss to Stetson, that FIU has lost late after dominating play statistically.

Victoria Miliucci scored for FIU as did Chelsea Leiva. FIU outshot UMKC 24-10, for what that's worth.

Two minutes after Miliucci tied the game 1-1 in the 38th minute, UMKC's Taylor Bare scored to send FIU into halftime down 2-1. After 35 years of watching/covering soccer and almost 40 watching/covering hockey, I can tell you that when you give up a goal on the next 2-3 minutes/shift AND it's near an intermission, you'll lose the game 80-90 percent of the time. Giving up those goals often show a lack of mental focus that'll prepare you for defeat. Also, they often produce huge redirections of emotion.

They'll have a week to lick wounds before leading off a soccer doubleheader at FIU by facing Florida Gulf Coast at 6:30 p.m. As for the team playing Stetson in the 8:30 p.m. nightcap...


Up in Columbus, Ohio, the men's soccer team went into the second half against Ohio State down 2-1 on a 40th minute goal. They eventually lost 3-1 after ruling the tide of play in the second half.

FIU outshot Ohio State 11-5 in the second half and earned seven corner kicks to Ohio State's one. Still, the 24th minute goal by senior Jahbari Willis stood as the Golden Panthers' only goal. The men's soccer team faces Penn State in Columbus Sunday, then is off until Friday's game with Stetson.


Big, honkin' gap in our coverage of Thursday's game -- while I was with media being led under the stands to the interview room to wait for postgame podium stuff, free safety Chuck Grace was being tossed from the game for launching himself at North Texas' wide receiver Andrew Power. Grace could miss next week's game against Louisville if FIU's appeal of the call gets rejected. Demarkus Perkins and Terrence Taylor are listed as the next two safeties on the "official" depth chart. Perkins didn't play at all Thursday, at least not according to my notes or the official game book.


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