@FGCU_VB Gets Back on Track with 3-2 Win at FIU
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Olivia Mesner had a team-high 18 kills at FIU (Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson)
Olivia Mesner had a team-high 18 kills at FIU (Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson)
Florida Gulf Coast (9-11 (5-2 A-Sun))
FIU (8-11 (2-4 C-USA))
10/15/2013 | Miami, Fla. | Attendance: 172
Florida Gulf Coast1625252218
Stats at a GlanceFGCUFIU
Hitting Pct..163.177
Total Attacks203186
Statistical LeadersFGCUFIU
KillsMESNER - 18
AssistsMEYER - 58
EGAN - 53
AcesHOLM - 1
DigsMASTERS - 22
BlocksMAMBUCA - 7

MIAMI, Fla. – The FGCU women’s volleyball team earned a five-set victory over FIU on Tuesday night at the U.S. Century Bank Arena.  The Eagles dropped set one, 25-16 before bouncing back with victories in sets two and three, 25-22 and 25-23.  The Panthers fought for a 25-22 win in set four to tie the game but saw as the Green and Blue secured an 18-16 win in the final set to take the match.  With the victory, the Eagles improve to 9-11 on the year, while the Panthers drop to 8-11.

The Eagles have now won eight of their last nine contests.

“It was a really nice win for us tonight,” said head coach Dave Nichols.  “It was a night where the girls really won with their minds by staying mentally strong in a match that went back and forth.  We saw an awesome performance by Shelby Joslin, who gave us a spark and made us comfortable about going to the bench in these situations.  Shelby had some huge swings down the stretch to help us get a really good team victory.”

Freshman Shelby Joslin (Alva, Fla./Evangelical Christian High School) and junior Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) led the Eagles offensively at FIU, each with a team-high 18 kills on the night.  Joslin’s performance was a season and career best.  Seniors Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) and Christine Pinder (Gainesville, Fla/Buchholz High School) also added double-digit kills for the Eagles with 16 and 10, respectively.  Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) also contributed to the Eagle attack with 57 assists on the night.

Defensively, Atlantic Sun Preseason Libero of the Year, Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) paced the squad with 22 digs.  Pinder added 16 for the Eagles for her sixth double-double of the season, while Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) recorded 15 digs and seven blocks in five sets.

The teams exchanged points to open the match before a six-point streak gave the home team an 8-2 advantage.  A series of FIU errors and two strong kills from Mesner helped the Eagles fight back and bring the score to 13-12.  However, a quick seven-point run put the Panthers ahead, 20-12.  The Eagles challenged FIU but were unable to cut the deficit.  FIU maintained the lead and ultimately took the win in set one, 25-16.

The Eagles responded to the loss with a strong start in set two.  With help from kills by Holm, Mambuca and Pinder, the Eagles compiled six-consecutive points to take the lead.  With two Panther errors, the Eagles took a 10-2 lead and maintained the momentum.  FIU battled back to cut the advantage to two points but FGCU was able to hold onto the lead.  A kill from Holm sealed the game at 25-22 to even the match at one set each.

Set three began as an even battle before two-consecutive kills from Mesner and an attack from Joslin put the Eagles in front, 7-4.  FIU put up a steady fight in the set and tied the bout at 18 on an Eagle error but a kill from Joslin helped FGCU reclaim the advantage at 19-18.  The Eagles did not let go of the lead again and saw as another kill from Holm at set point gave the Green and Blue a 25-23 win.

FIU took a small lead to open set four and maintained it with a strong attack percentage.  The Eagles challenged and briefly look hold of the game with kills from Pinder and Holm.  The Green and Blue was able to extend its lead to 18-14 before the Panthers responded to tie the set at 21.  FIU went on to score four of the final five points of the set to take the win, 25-22 and even the match at two sets.

The Eagles started the final stanza with purpose, scoring the first two points on kills from Joslin.  The Panthers tied the set at each point between four and seven and took a brief 9-7 lead before Nichols called timeout.

Following the timeout, the Eagles saw a kill from Joslin and two Panther errors to give FGCU a 10-9 advantage.  The Panthers tied the set at 11 and went ahead again with two-quick points but an FIU error and a Mesner kill tied the set at 14 with the match on the line.  A service ace from Holm and a kill from Mesner helped the Eagles go ahead 16-15 but FIU tied the score again at 16.  A final kill by Pinder and an FIU misplay gave the Eagles an 18-16 lead to seal the set and the match.

Tuesday’s match marked the third time the Eagles played a full five-set match this season.  Each of the full matches was played in the previous seven days and each resulted in a 3-2 victory.

FGCU returns to Atlantic Sun action, where it holds a record of 5-2, this weekend with a pair of home games.  The Eagles will host Lipscomb on Friday evening before taking on Northern Kentucky on Saturday at Alico Arena.  Friday’s contest will begin at 7 p.m. and will precede FGCU’s Dunk City After Dark event.  Tickets to the game will be sold at half price and will allow fans to guarantee a seat for the basketball event which will be featured live on ESPNU.

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.