@FGCU_VB Rebounds to Defeat Northern Kentucky 3-1
Saturday, October 19, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
The Eagles rallied for a win at Alico Arena on Saturday Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson
The Eagles rallied for a win at Alico Arena on Saturday Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson
NKU (8-14 (3-7 ASun))
Florida Gulf Coast (10-12 (6-3 ASun))
10/19/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 349
NKU25232516 --
Florida Gulf Coast27251725 --
Stats at a GlanceNKUFGCU
Hitting Pct..208.284
Total Attacks149134
Statistical LeadersNKUFGCU
KillsCREAMER - 17
AssistsSNYDER - 57
MEYER - 46
AcesSNYDER - 4
DigsPRICKEL - 17
BlocksCREAMER - 3

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After falling at home on Friday evening, the FGCU women’s volleyball team responded with a 3-1 triumph over Northern Kentucky in Atlantic Sun play.  The Eagles earned close wins in set one and two (27-25, 25-23) before dropping set three (25-17).  The Green and Blue mounted a 25-16 win in set four to seal the victory and improve to 10-12 on the year with a 6-3 conference mark.  The Norse fall to 8-14 with a 3-7 A-Sun record.

“We were okay today,” explained head coach Dave Nichols.  “I think we were a little tired from an emotional and intense match last night.  Northern Kentucky runs a very fast and tricky offense with a lot of motion going on.  It felt like we didn’t get a rhythm on it at all.  It was great that we sided out efficiently but we struggled with their offense; we weren’t able to dig or to block balls to give us a chance to set up our offense to score points.  After playing a rough game three I liked that we came out to play our best set in game four.  I was happy with the way we finished the match.” 

As a team, the Eagles hit .284 through four sets and saw as the Norse maintained a .208 attack percentage.  FGCU recorded a match-high percentage of .448, while holding NKU to -.032 in the final set.

Offensively, Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) and Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) led the Eagle attack with double-digit kills.  Mesner had a team-high 14 attacks, while Holm added 13 to the team’s total of 56.  Christine Pinder (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) and Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) each added nine kills for the Green and Blue to add to the win.

Setter Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) had 46 assists on the night to aid the offense, while Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) paced the Eagles’ defensive effort with 15 digs in the match.

The teams opened the first set with an exchange of points before the Eagles used a series of kills and a service ace by Caroline Jordan (Orlando, Fla./William R. Boone High School) gave the home team an 11-7 lead.  After an NKU timeout, the Eagles extended their lead to 16-12, but saw as the Norse rallied to tie the set at 20.  The teams fought for the advantage and tied the set at each point between 21 and 25.  With a kill from Holm and a Norse error, the Eagles squeaked out a 27-25 win to go ahead in the match.

The Eagles maintained the momentum and took an early lead in set two with help from kills by Mesner and Pinder.  The Norse battled back but were met with an Eagle response each time they attempted to tie the score early on. NKU used a string of three-quick points to tie the set at 16 and went up 19-18 on a kill.  The Norse held onto the lead briefly before a Pinder kill and an attack error let FGCU reclaim the lead at 22-21.  The visitors again tied the score at 22 and 23, but kills by Pinder and Mesner ultimately gave the Eagles a 25-23 win and a 2-0 advantage in the set.

Northern Kentucky rallied to begin the third set and used three service aces and two kills to take a quick 6-1 lead.  NKU maintained a five-point lead and extended the advantage to 14-8 on a string of three-consecutive points.  The Eagles attempted to create an attack but could not cut the deficit.  The visiting team went on to take the set, 25-17 and forced the match to a fourth set.

The Eagles quickly responded to the loss and went ahead 4-1 to begin the fourth set.  The Green and Blue increased its lead to 8-4 before forcing NKU to call a timeout.  FGCU scored the first point out of the timeout and maintained the advantage through the set.  With help from strong play by Mesner and Holm, the Eagles increased their lead to 20-12.  The Norse responded to score four more points but a kill by Shelby Joslin ( Alva, Fla./ Evangelical Christian High School) ended the set in favor of the Eagles, 25-16.

The win increased the Eagles’ Atlantic Sun record as they reach the midway point of the conference slate.  FGCU holds a tie for fourth place with Stetson, who is also 6-3 in league action.  Jacksonville and ETSU, two teams to defeat the Eagles, hold a tie for first place with records of 8-1.

The Green and Blue will get back on the road for a three-game conference road trip next weekend.  The Eagles will play at Mercer on Friday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. before facing Kennesaw State on Saturday at 3 p.m.  The team will round out the trip at UNF on Monday, Oct. 28 with a 7 p.m. first set.

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.