@FGCU_VB Earns Tournament Berth with Sweep at Northern Kentucky
Friday, November 15, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
With a 3-0 win, the Eagles secured a position in the A-Sun Tournament (Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson)
With a 3-0 win, the Eagles secured a position in the A-Sun Tournament (Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson)
Florida Gulf Coast (13-17, 9-8 A-Sun)
NKU (12-18, 7-10 A-Sun)
11/15/2013 | Highland Heights, Ky | Attendance: 311
Florida Gulf Coast252525 -- --
NKU211815 -- --
Stats at a GlanceFGCUNKU
Hitting Pct..272.105
Total Attacks103105
Statistical LeadersFGCUNKU
KillsHOLM - 12
RUBLE - 11
AssistsMEYER - 39
AcesMESNER - 1
HOLM - 1
DigsMASTERS - 17
BlocksHOLM - 4

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The FGCU women’s volleyball team defeated Northern Kentucky University 3-0 on Friday night to secure a position in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Championship Tournament.  The Eagles took wins in all three sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-15) to take the match victory and improve to 13-17 on the season with a 9-8 A-Sun record.  The Norse fall to 11-19 on the year and 6-11 in league action.

“We played really well tonight,” said head coach Dave Nichols of the win.  ”We shifted the lineup today and in turn saw contributions from everyone.  It was our most complete performance in a long time and maybe all season.  We played really steady and consistent, our communication was great and Gigi [Meyer] ran a great offense to put the team in good situations. 

Senior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) led the Eagles’ attack at Northern Kentucky with 12 kills through three sets, while Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) added 10 in favor of the Eagles. 

Holm also added nine digs on the night, with libero Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) leading the team at 17.  Setter Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) aided the offensive surge with 39 assists on the night.

As a unit, the Eagles hit .272, while holding the Norse to a hitting percentage of just .105, well below their season average.  The team produced seven blocks on the night and held a sideout percentage of 62.

The Eagles fell behind 5-1 to begin set one and saw as the Norse extended their lead to 8-2.  While trailing, 10-5, the Eagles mounted an attack to tie the set at 13.  The home team reclaimed a slight advantage before a NKU error allowed FGCU to tie the set again at 17.  With the score tied at 18, Holm gave the Eagles their first lead of the match with a convincing kill.  After an NKU timeout, the Eagles maintained a lead at 20-19 and pulled ahead 23-20 on a block from Holm and Marlene Moeller (Lundinghausen, Germany.  A kill by Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School), followed by a kill from Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) sealed the come-back victory for FGCU, 25-21.

The Green and Blue carried the momentum into set two and took a 10-4 lead early on with help from kills by Barnes, Holm and Mesner.  An NKU attack error gave the Eagles an 11-4 lead before the home team called for a timeout.  The Norse scored the first two points out of the timeout but a kill by Mesner and a block from Holm let the Eagles take back the seven-point lead at 13-6. 

The Eagles maintained control of the game and went ahead 16-7 on more strong offensive play from Holm.  Three-consecutive kills from the Green and Blue put the team ahead by double-digits, 19-9.  The Norse responded to come within five points but could not catch the Eagles as they continued strong offensive play.  FGCU ultimately took the win, 25-18, to take a two-set lead in the match. 

With the match on the line, the Norse responded to the Eagle pressure in set three.  The teams battled for points and tied the set at 7-7 before a string of errors put the Eagles ahead, 11-8.

After an NKU timeout, the Eagles increased the lead to 15-11 and used a streak of attacks to increase the advantage to 19-12.  With a 19-14 lead, the Eagles scored six of the last seven points to take a 25-15 win and secure a position in the postseason tournament.

The tournament berth marks the fifth appearance for the Eagles since 2009.  The tournament will be held next weekend, Nov. 21-23 at Kennesaw State.

“The way we played tonight was great,” continued Nichols.  “With this level of play we are able to compete with anyone in the conference.  If we keep it up we can be dangerous next weekend.”

The Green and Blue will conclude the Atlantic Sun regular season slate on Saturday afternoon with a 2 p.m. match at Lipscomb.  The match is scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN3.

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.