(6-7; 1-2 ASun)
Florida Gulf Coast
(3-10; 2-1 ASun)
9/27/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 461
|Florida Gulf Coast||25||23||25||28||
|Stats at a Glance||KSU||FGCU|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s volleyball team earned a hard-fought 3-1 win over Kennesaw State on Friday, Sept. 27 at Alico Arena. With the win, the Eagles improve to 3-10 on the year and move to 2-1 in Atlantic Sun action. The Owls fall to 6-7 this season with a 1-2 mark in conference.
The Eagles battled back after trailing in two different sets to earn a win in a match that saw a total of 35 tie scores and 11 lead changes through four sets.
“Tonight was a good night for us because we competed,” said head coach Dave Nichols. “At times it wasn’t the cleanest performance but I was thrilled at how much heart the girls showed; we came back from a huge hole in set two and doing it again in game four. That is more important than being clean because we can really build momentum and confidence from that kind of mental toughness. I’m very very proud of how we competed. Kennesaw State is a solid team and I think this is a great conference win for us.”
Senior Christine Pinder (Gainseville, Fla./Buchholz High School) led the charge for the Eagles with a team-high 14 kills and 15 digs on the night. The stellar effort proved to be Pinder’s fourth double-double of the season. Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) and Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) also added double-digit kills for the Eagles with 12 and 11, respectively. Junior GiGi Meyer (Gainseville, Fla./Buchholz High School) facilitated the offense with 42 assists on the night.
Defensively, the Eagles were led by 18 digs from libero Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School). Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) recorded a season-high for the second-consecutive match with eight block assists on the night. Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) added seven block assists in the match, while also recording two solo blocks and eight kills to help the Eagles to victory.
The teams opened set one in a strong battle for the lead and produced nine tie scores through the first 22 points scored to notch the game at 11. A kill from Mambuca swung the momentum in the Eagles’ favor and enabled FGCU to take the lead. Strong play from the Eagles increased their advantage to 16-13 and eventually to 20-15. The teams once again traded tallies in the final points of the set but the Eagles maintained their lead and stole the set on a convincing kill from Barnes. With an attack percentage advantage of .323 to .121, the Eagles took set one, 25-17.
The Owls took control of set two early on and used a five-point rally to take a 9-4 lead. KSU maintained a five-point lead through the majority of the set and increased the advantage to 21-14 on a series of errors by the Eagles. FGCU regained control on a kill by Holm and rallied for five-unanswered points to tie the game at 21. The teams battled for the lead, tying the score at 22 and 23 before the Owls scored two quick points to earn a 25-23 win and even the match.
The Eagles took the initial lead in set three and increased the point advantage to 13-9 with three-consecutive kills by Pinder. The Owls responded with five-unanswered points to tie the game at 17 and challenge FGCU for the win. The teams tied the set four more times and with the score locked at 21 all, FGCU mounted an attack that included kills from Holm and Pinder. Two final Owl errors helped FGCU take the win, 25-21. The 'W' moved the Eagles ahead in the match, 2-1.
The fourth set proved to be the most intense as the Owls challenged the Eagles to avoid defeat. The final set alone showed 12 tie scores and five lead changes. The teams tied the set at five before the Owls scored five of the next six points to take a 10-6 lead. The Eagles responded by scoring seven of eight points to even the set at 12 points each. After trading the lead once again, the teams tied the game at 21. Two errors by KSU gave FGCU a two-point lead but it was short lived as the Owls tied the game at 23. A kill from Pinder gave the Green and Blue a 24-23 lead before Kennesaw State responded with a kill of its own. The teams tied at 25 and 26 points before convincing kills from Barnes and Holm sealed an emotional victory for FGCU. The Eagles amassed an attack percentage of .216, while holding KSU to a percentage of .143 in the final stanza to take the set, 28-26, and earn the match victory, 3-1.
The win improved the Eagles to 2-1 in the Atlantic Sun and moved the team up in the standings to a tie for third place. FGCU will host a 0-3 Mercer team on Saturday at Alico Arena. The first set is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be viewed live on ASun.TV.
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.