Florida Gulf Coast
10/8/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 548
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|Stats at a Glance||FAU||FGCU|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU women’s volleyball team edged the Owls of FAU with a 3-2 victory in nonconference action on Tuesday. After falling 26-24 in set one, the Eagles responded with a 25-14 win in set two to even the match. The Owls took set three 25-19 before the Green and Blue tied the match with a 25-19 win in set four. The Eagles rallied for a 15-10 win the final stanza to earn the thrilling victory.
With the ‘W’, the Eagles extend their win streak to six games and move to 7-10 on the season, with a 4-1 Atlantic Sun mark, while the Owls fall to 9-9 on the year. The five-set victory marked the first time the Eagles have gone a full five sets this season.
“The girls are really getting better every week. This is really a testament to their mental toughness and their heart,” explained head coach Dave Nichols. “We weren’t really clean in some of the sets, but we were always fighting and it was great to see how hard they competed down the stretch.”
Offensively, the Eagles were led by a stellar night from outside hitter Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School). Mesner recorded 25 kills through five sets to more than double her previous season high. The junior also logged a season-high attack percentage at .568. The Green and Blue saw three others in double figures for kills as Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) added 19, Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) recorded 13 and Christine Pinder (Gainesville, Fla/Buchholz High School) had 10.
Junior Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) aided the offense with a season-high 63 assists on the night.
On defense, the Eagles saw five different players with double-digit digs. Libero Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) led the charge with 26 digs, while Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) added 19. Pinder recorded her fifth double-double of the season at 18 digs with Barnes tallying her third double-double of the year at 13 digs. Meyer also added 10 in the victory.
The opening round set the tone for the match as the teams battled for points and tied the set on 20 occasions. Both teams recorded attack percentages of over .350 and were held to fewer than six errors.
With neither team ever holding more than a two-point lead, the set was tied at 23. An Owl error gave the Eagles a brief lead before an FAU kill tied the set at 24 points. The Owls connected for two-consecutive kills to go ahead, 26-24 and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
In set two, the Eagles challenged FAU and held the Owls to a .100 attack percentage, while maintaining a strong offensive effort. After tying the game at four points, the Eagles rallied to take an 8-4 lead and never looked back. The Green and Blue used several rallies to extend its advantage to 17-10 and maintained a strong lead through the end of the set. Two-quick kills from Barnes secured the win at 25-14 and evened the match.
The Owls took brief control of set three before the Eagles battled to tie the stanza at 12. FGCU fell behind 17-14 after an FAU rally and could not overcome the Owls. FAU extended its advantage and ultimately took the set, 25-19.
With a series of kills from Barnes and Pinder, the Eagles took a 9-4 lead quickly in the fourth set. Four-consecutive points later in the bout extended the FGCU edge to 18-9 before the Owls responded with several kills to cut the Eagle momentum. The Green and Blue held onto the advantage and with two late kills by Mesner sealed the win 25-19 to lock the match at two sets each.
The Eagles carried the momentum into set five and took a 3-0 lead quickly. The Owls battled to tie the final set at four points before the Eagles scored five of the next seven points to go ahead 9-6. After an FAU timeout, FGCU scored three-quick points to double the Owls’ total and take a 12-6 lead. FGCU never relinquished the edge and earned a 15-10 win in set five. The Eagles held FAU to an attack percentage of just .034 en route to the set-five victory.
FGCU will look to continue its strong play as they continue Atlantic Sun action this weekend. The Green and Blue will travel to USC Upstate and ETSU Friday and Saturday in a quest to move up the A-Sun standings and extend the team’s win streak.
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.