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@FGCU_VB Earns Win in Five-Set Thriller at Mercer
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|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||MER|
LOCKE - 3
MACON, Ga. – After being challenged through four sets, the FGCU women’s volleyball team left Hawkins Arena with a 3-2 win over Mercer on Friday night. The Green and Blue earned wins in sets one and three (25-21, 25-16), but dropped sets two and four to the home team (25-14, 25-18). A convincing 15-7 win in set five sealed the victory for the Eagles and enabled the team to move to 11-12 on the season and 7-3 in Atlantic Sun action. The Bears drop to 1-21 on the year with a 0-12 conference record.
“Tonight was a great match,” said head coach Dave Nichols. “Mercer really played tough tonight and I was proud of how our girls weathered the storm. We played some really hard sets but Kaitlin [Holm] had a career night and was fantastic under pressure for us. Our fifth set was really clean and really aggressive and I’m proud that our girls pushed through the match to stay mentally tough in a hostile gym and earn a strong win.”
Individually, FGCU was led by outside hitter Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School). Holm paced the team with a career-high 21 kills on the night, while Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) and Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) added 14 and 13 attacks for the Eagles, respectively.
Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) aided the Eagles in the win defensively with a team-high 17 digs and seven blocks on the night.
As a unit, the Eagles maintained an attack percentage of .214 through five sets, while holding the Bears to a mark of .169. The Green and Blue recorded a match-high attack percentage of .533 in the third set and held Mercer to a nightly low -.059 in the final set to take the victory.
The Green and Blue exchanged points with the home team to open the match before a series of points put FGCU ahead 14-7. The Bears responded with a stream of seven-consecutive points to tie the set at 14 and challenged the Eagles through the next several rallies. The teams tied the set at points 17, 19 and 20 but the Eagles scored five of the final six points to seal the win, 25-21.
Mercer responded to the loss quickly and took a 6-3 lead early in set two. The Eagles forced several Mercer errors to cut the deficit to one point, but saw as the Bears increased their lead to 16-8 before Nichols called timeout.
The Bears improved their lead to 11 points out of the timeout and prevented the Eagles from attacking with strong defensive play. The home team held on to the advantage and evened the match with a 25-14 win in set two.
The Eagles took a slight lead to begin set three and maintained the momentum through the set. The Bears challenged FGCU at each point and did not allow more than a two-point lead until the midway point in the match. With a 12-11 lead, the Eagles rallied to score six of the next eight points and increased their lead to 20-13 on a Mercer attack error. A kill from Holm and a block by Mambuca and Mesner gave the Eagles an eight-point advantage late in the game before a kill by Mesner sealed the win at 25-16 in favor of the Eagles.
With two service aces, the home team took a quick 4-1 lead and extended its lead to 7-3 to begin set four. The Eagles challenged to bring the score within two points but were met with retaliation in the form of several point rallies by the Bears. Mercer outscored FGCU 22-18 before scoring three-consecutive points to take the win, 25-18, and even the match at two sets each.
Multiple kills each by Barnes and Holm gave the Eagles a 5-1 advantage to begin the final stanza. The Green and Blue allowed Mercer to score four points, but increased its lead to 9-4 on two Bear errors and another attack by Holm. Two kills from Mesner and a pair of Mercer errors put the Eagles ahead 13-6 with the match on the line. A kill from rookie Shelby Joslin (Alva, Fla./ Evangelical Christian High School) gave the Green and Blue a 14-7 lead before the Eagles sealed the set on a block by Mesner. The 15-7 win gave FGCU a 3-2 match victory.
The Eagles are now 4-0 in five-set matches and have won three games in the last 10 days. The team will continue Atlantic Sun action on Saturday afternoon as they take on Kennesaw State at 3 p.m.
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.