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@FGCU_VB Readies to Host Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky in A-Sun Action
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RUBLE - 3
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After three games on the road, the FGCU women’s volleyball team will return to Alico Arena to host Atlantic Sun foes Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky this weekend. The Eagles will face Lipscomb Friday evening at 7 p.m. before taking on NKU on Saturday with a 7 p.m. start time.
The Eagles enter the weekend with a record of 9-11 on the year and a 5-2 mark in conference play. FGCU recently fell to league-leader ETSU to snap a seven-game win streak, but responded with a midweek five-set win at FIU. The Green and Blue will look to start a new win-streak as conference action heats up.
Junior outside hitter Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) leads the Eagle offense with 3.38 kills per set and ranks seventh among A-Sun attackers. Barnes’ offensive effort is aided by 2.86 kills per set from Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) and 2.51 by Christine Pinder (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) and Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School).
Holm has added 48 blocks for the Eagles and has been a strong presence in the Eagles’ success this season, while Pinder is one of the team’s dig leaders at 3.28 digs per set. Pinder has recorded six double-doubles on the season by maximizing on her offensive and defensive efforts.
Setter Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS) has helped sustain the Eagles’ attack this year with 10.30 assists per set to rank fifth in the A-Sun.
Defensively, Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) paces the Eagles with a team-leading 278 digs on the season, while Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) leads all players with 62 blocks through 20 games.
LAST TIME OUT
In their last outing, the Eagles earned a five-set victory over FIU to conclude nonconference action. 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. The midweek matchup helped the Eagles improve to 9-11 on the year.
With the win, the Eagles recorded their eighth win in nine games.
Freshman Shelby Joslin (Alva, Fla./Evangelical Christian High School) and Mesner led the Eagles’ attack at FIU, each with a team-high 18 kills on the night. Joslin’s performance was a season and career best. Holm and Pinder also added double-digit kills for the Eagles with 16 and 10, respectively, while Meyer contributed to the Eagle offense with 57 assists on the night.
Defensively, Masters paced the squad with 22 digs. Pinder added 16 for the Eagles for her sixth double-double of the season, while Mambuca recorded 15 digs and seven blocks in five sets.
The Lady Bison will travel to Fort Myers with a record of 12-6 and a mark of 6-2 in A-Sun play. Lipscomb has recorded wins over KSU, Mercer, Northern Kentucky, USC Upstate and UNF with losses to ETSU and Jacksonville. The team currently holds a three-game win stream with its last loss coming against ETSU.
As a team, the Lady Bison hold a national top-25 hitting percentage of .267, while holding opponents to a percentage of .216. The squad currently leads the nation with 15.52 kills per set and 14.39 assists per set, while boasting two top-ranked NCAA statistical leaders.
Setter Caitlin Dotson tops the NCAA rankings with 12.67 assists per set, while Jewell Dobson ranks sixth in the country with 4.75 kills per set. Dobson also leads the team with 44 blocks, while Lauren Ford adds to the offensive effort with 4.03 kills per set. Defensively, Bri McCombs has maintained an average of 4.18 digs per set to lead the team.
FGCU and Lipscomb have met on 12 occasions since 2007, including twice in the Atlantic Sun Championship Tournament. The Lady Bison hold the advantage with eight wins through the series, while the Eagles have earned a ‘W’ four times. The Green and Blue took two 3-0 victories last year after falling to Lipscomb in the A-Sun semifinal in 2011.
SCOUTING NORTHERN KENTUCKY
Northern Kentucky will venture to the Sunshine State with a record of 8-12, including a 3-5 conference slate. The Norse, who currently hold a two-game win streak, will take on Stetson on Friday before traveling to FGCU. So far this season, the Norse have earned wins over Mercer, Kennesaw State and USC Upstate in conference action and have fallen to UNF, ETSU, Jacksonville and Lipscomb.
As a team, the Norse hold an average attack percentage of .206, while allowing foes to hit .249. The team ranks sixth among the A-Sun with 12.45 kills per set, one position lower than the Eagles.
Individually, NKU is led by Jayden Julian who averages 2.90 kills per set, while Jenna Ruble adds 2.55 kills per set and leads the team in blocks. Taylor Snyder ranks fourth among A-Sun setters with 10.39 assists per set, while libero Anna Prickel has maintained an average of 3.50 digs per stanza.
The Eagles and Norse have met just twice since NKU joined the A-Sun last season. FGCU defeated NKU 3-1 in Kentucky last season before falling 3-2 on senior day at Alico Arena.
ON THE HORIZON
Following the weekend, the Eagles will get back on the road for a three-game conference road trip. The Green and Blue will play at Mercer on Friday, Oct. 25 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 season tickets are still available by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. 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.