JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU sand volleyball team split a pair of matches on Friday (April 20), falling to Stetson (4-1) and taking down Jacksonville (4-1) on the opening day of play at the Atlantic Sun Conference Sand Volleyball Championship.
The Green and Blue are now to 5-4 this season in dual matches. The Eagles were one of three teams that went 1-1 on the first day of competition on the campus of Jacksonville University at the Dolphin Beach Volleyball Complex. UNF was the only team to go undefeated (2-0) and Mercer went 0-2.
In the opening match, FGCU’s No. 5 pairing of freshman Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS) and junior Lindsey Childs (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./South Plantation HS) fell 2-0 (21-19, 21-9) to Stetson’s duo of Kaylee Ream and Savannah Byl. The Hatters would take a 2-0 lead in the match when the FGCU’s No. 4 tandem of freshman Jill Hopper (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown HS) and freshman Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani HS) were defeated in two sets (21-16, 21-19) by the duo of Catherine DiGirolamo and Stephanie Marin.
Redshirt junior Brooke Kohler (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter HS/Clemson) and junior Brittany Muse (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto County HS) claimed FGCU’s only win of the match by defeating Stetson’s No. 3 pairing of Alisha Hoffman and Claudia Kalin in straight sets (21-17, 21-11).
The Eagles dropped the final two games of the match as their No. 2 team of sophomore Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS) and freshman Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River HS) and No. 1 tandem of senior Holly Youngquist (Estero, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS) and sophomore Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall) lost in two and three sets, respectively. Youngquist and Holm fell to the Hatters' Kayley Melville and Julie Bassett, who will be playing in next weekend's AVCA Sand Volleyball National Championship event in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Against Jacksonville, Meyer and Childs got the team win started with a 2-1 (25-23, 12-21, 15-11) victory over the pairing of Robertson/Orner. Hopper/Masters earned their first win at the event rebounding with a straight set 21-8, 21-16 decision against JU’s Loeppky/Sanderson.
A 2-0 (21-17, 21-271) sweep by Kohler/Muse over Jacksonville’s Cullen/Teplitz tandem clinched the team point for the Eagles. Kane/Straugbaugh topped the Green and Blue’s Membuca/Mesner 21-16, 21-10 and Youngquist/Holm knocked off Courtney/Whitmire in three sets (12-21, 21-16, 15-13) to complete the win for FGCU.
Due to the threat of inclement weather Saturday afternoon, tournament action will begin an hour earlier at 8 a.m. for day two play. Matches slated for round two include Mercer vs. FGCU (8 a.m.), JU vs. Stetson (8 a.m.), Mercer vs. Stetson (10 a.m.), UNF vs. FGCU (11 a.m.) and UNF vs. JU (1 p.m.).
The tournament wraps up Sunday with a single elimination flighted pairs competition beginning at 9 a.m.
DAY 1 RESULTS
Stetson 4, FGCU 1
No. 5 Stetson (Kaylee Ream/Savannah Byl) def. FGCU (Gigi Meyer/Lindsey Childs), 21-19, 21-9
No. 4 Stetson (Catherine DiGirolamo/Stephanie Marin) def. FGCU (Whitney Masters/Jill Hopper), 21-16, 21-19
No. 3 FGCU (Brooke Kohler/Brittany Muse) def. Stetson (Alisha Hoffman/Claudia Kalin), 21-17, 21-11
No. 2 Stetson (Alexa Stonish/Maren Rygh) def. FGCU (Karina Mambucs/Olivia Mesner), 21-14, 21-19
No. 1 Stetson (Kayley Melville/Julie Bassett) def. FGCU (Kaitlin Holm/Holly Youngquist), 21-13, 12-21, 16-14
FGCU 4, Jacksonville 1
No. 5 FGCU (Gigi Meyer/Lindsey Childs) def. JU (Alyssa Robertson/Jenna Orner), 25-23, 12-21, 15-11
No. 4 FGCU (Whitney Masters/Jill Hopper) def. JU (Alison Loeppky/Chelsea Sanderson), 21-8, 21-16
No. 3 FGCU (Brooke Kohler/Brittany Muse) def. JU (Niatha Cullen/Nicole Teplitz), 21-17, 21-7
No. 2 JU (Kathryn Kane/Sammie Straugbaugh) def. FGCU (Karina Membuca/Olivia Mesner), 21-16, 21-10
No. 1 FGCU (Kaitlin Holm/Holly Youngquist) def. JU (Kendall Courtney/Cari Whitmire), 12-21, 21-16, 15-13