@FGCU_VB Improves to 3-1 in Atlantic Sun Action with Convincing 3-0 Win Over Mercer
Saturday, September 28, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Jessica Barnes recorded a season-high attack percentage of .452
Jessica Barnes recorded a season-high attack percentage of .452
Mercer (1-13 (0-4 ASun))
Florida Gulf Coast (4-10 (3-1 ASun))
9/28/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 539
Mercer261317 -- --
Florida Gulf Coast282525 -- --
Stats at a GlanceMERFGCU
Hitting Pct..157.368
Total Attacks121114
Statistical LeadersMERFGCU
KillsCARLTON - 15
AssistsIANNARINO - 30
MEYER - 39
BlocksMAMBUCA - 3

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s volleyball team earned a convincing three-set victory over Mercer University on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Alico Arena.  With the win, the Eagles extend their win streak to three games and improve to 4-10 on the season with a 3-1 mark in Atlantic Sun play.  The Bears drop to 1-13 with a 0-4 conference record.

After being challenged by the Bears, the Eagles battled for a come-from behind triumph to take a 28-26 ‘W’ in the first stanza.  The win set the tone for the rest of the match as the Eagles defeated the Bears by scores of 25-13 and 25-17 to earn the victory.

“It was a really nice performance by the girls,” said head coach Dave Nichols.  “I loved how much toughness they showed in game one when we were down.  There was no let up, they played tremendous defense and our blocking improved.  They got on a team and stayed on them, which has been an important area for us to improve on.  Overall, I am really pleased with their courage and their effort and I like the direction we’re going in right now.”

As a unit, the Eagles produced a season-high attack percentage of .368, while holding the Bears to .157.  With help from three double-digit performances, the Eagles also recorded a season-high 51 kills.

Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) paced the Eagles offensively with 15 kills through three sets.  The junior held a season-high attack percentage of .452 with just one error on the night.  Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) and Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) each added 11 kills for FGCU.  Junior GiGi Meyer (Gainseville, Fla./Buchholz High School) aided the strong offensive effort with 39 assists. 

Defensively, libero Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) and senior Christine Pinder (Gainseville, Fla./Buchholz High School) each recorded 15 digs on the night to lead the team.  Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) added nine digs for FGCU, while also recording three blocks and three service aces. 

Set one proved to be a battle as the teams tied on 12 occasions and exchanged the lead four times.  After trading points to open the set, Mercer took a slight lead at 13-10.  FGCU rallied to tie the set at 13 but saw as the Bears reclaimed the lead, 15-13.  The teams tied the set at 16, 18 and 20 points before Mercer pulled ahead on a kill and an Eagle error.   Mercer held a 24-23 lead but watched as Holm laid down another kill to keep the Eagles alive.  The teams traded points to bring the score to 26-25 in favor of the Bears before three-straight kills by Mesner and Pinder pushed the Eagles ahead, 28-26.

The Eagles claimed the advantage early in set two on a pair of service aces by Mambuca and a series of kills from Mesner.  After tying the game at six points each, FGCU went ahead and never relinquished the lead.  Scoring eight of nine points midway through the set gave FGCU a 19-10 lead, while a three-point rally increased the Mercer deficit to 10 points at 23-13.  Three-consecutive kills from Holm ended the set with a score of 25-13 to put the Eagles ahead, 2-0.

FGCU increased its prowess in set three and recorded an attack percentage of .421, while holding Mercer to .135.  Barnes had seven kills in the set to conclude the match.

The Eagles began the set with a three-point rally and maintained the lead through the remainder of the match.  Six-consecutive points put the Green and Blue up 12-6 before Mercer called timeout in an attempt to slow down the Eagle offense.  The Eagles increased the score to 14-6 immediately following the timeout and steadily amplified their lead until they held a 20-10 advantage.  The Bears inched closer in the final points of the set but could not catch the Eagles.  FGCU finished the set with a 25-17 win to earn a 3-0 match victory. 

FGCU will take a break from Atlantic Sun action on Tuesday, Oct. 1 as the team travels to Daytona Beach to face Bethune-Cookman.  The match is slated for 7 p.m.  Following the nonconference bout, the Eagles will face first-place Stetson on the road on Friday, Oct. 4. 

2013-14 volleyball tickets are available by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. Season tickets are $35 for adults and $17 for youth (ages 3-12). Single-game tickets can also be purchased for $6 per adult and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can receive a discounted rate of $3 per person. FGCU students and faculty/staff are admitted for free with a valid University ID.