Jacksonville Edges @FGCU_VB in Atlantic Sun Semifinal
Friday, November 22, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Florida Gulf Coast (14-19)
Jacksonville (28-3)
11/22/2013 | Kennesaw, Ga. | Attendance: 0
Florida Gulf Coast22212516 --
Jacksonville25252325 --
Stats at a GlanceFGCUJU
Hitting Pct..195.239
Total Attacks169176
Statistical LeadersFGCUJU
KillsMOELLER - 17
AssistsMEYER - 44
DigsMASTERS - 19
BlocksMAMBUCA - 5

KENNESAW, Ga. – While competing in the Atlantic Sun Conference Semifinals for the third-consecutive year, the FGCU women’s volleyball team was defeated at the hands of No. 1 Jacksonville, 3-1.  The No. 4 Eagles fell by a small margin in the first two sets (25-22, 25-21) before bouncing back to win set three (25-23).  The Dolphins took control of the match in the fourth set to take a 25-16 win and advance to the A-Sun Championship final.

The Eagles produced a strong attack but could not outlast the top-seeded Dolphins.  FGCU hit .195 through four sets, while recording 52 kills but allowed Jacksonville to hit .239 and knock down 62 kills on the night.

“It was a great volleyball match,” said head coach Dave Nichols of the hard-fought loss.  “First we have to give credit to Jacksonville because they played extremely well and put on relentless pressure.  I’m really proud of how our girls battled. They fought for every point, they left it all out on the floor, they played with tremendous heart and it really was a wonderful, exciting match to watch.  I think the girls should be very proud of their effort and I was really proud of how we competed but it was a great job by Jacksonville earning the win.”

With the loss, the Eagles complete the 2013 season with a record of 14-19, while Jacksonville moves to 28-3 with a chance to earn its second conference crown.

Freshman Marlene Moeller (Ludinghausen, Germany/Pascal Gymnasium) led all FGCU players with a career-high 17 kills on the night, while senior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) contributed 16 kills and 12 digs for her second-consecutive game with a double-double.

Junior setter Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) also added a double-double in the match with 44 assists and 14 digs. In addition to those double-digit digs, Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) led the defense with 19 through the four-set match.

The Eagles and Dolphins opened the postseason matchup with an exchange of kills.  Attacks from Holm, Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) and Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) enabled the Eagles to tie the set at five and maintain the tie at 10 and 14 points.  The Dolphins took a 17-14 lead on three-quick points before Nichols called timeout to stop the run.

Following the timeout, the Eagles moved the score to 17-15 but saw as JU scored three-consecutive points to take a 21-17 lead.  After another FGCU timeout, the Eagles produced a three-point rally of their own and forced JU to call timeout with the score at 21-17.  Three kills from Moeller and an attack from Holm gave the Eagles the momentum to tie the set at 22 and again force JU to call timeout.

Although the Eagles provided steady pressure, the Dolphins sealed a set-one win with three-consecutive points to end the stanza, 25-22.

The Dolphins opened the second set with a 7-4 lead and maintained the advantage through the bout.  The Eagles cut the deficit to just one point at 11-10 but could not take hold of the lead.  JU held onto a minimal lead but moved to 2-0 in the match with three kills to end the set.

The Green and Blue entered set three with a greater sense of urgency.  Although the Dolphins took an initial lead, the Eagles challenged JU to tie the set at 10 and used a kill from Holm and two Dolphin errors to take a 15-11 lead.  After increasing the lead to 20-16, JU called timeout to recompose. 

With the match on the line, the Dolphins fought back to tie the set at 23 on a service ace.  Nichols called timeout with the score knotted and set up Mesner and Holm to produce two strong offensive attacks to end the set in favor of the Eagles, 25-23.

Jacksonville opened the final stanza with a 4-1 lead and maintained strong pressure with an attack percentage of .421.  The Dolphins extended the lead to 18-10 and went up 19-10 after an FGCU timeout.  Although the Eagles kept fighting, the Jacksonville offense was too strong to stifle.  The top-seeded Jacksonville Dolphins ultimately sealed the 3-1 match victory with a 25-16 win.

Overall, the Eagles produced 52 kills, 80 digs and eight total blocks, while Jacksonville recorded 62 kills, 84 digs and four total blocks.

The 2013 FGCU women’s volleyball team finished the season with a record of 14-19 and an Atlantic Sun mark of 9-9.  The team will lose Kaitlin Holm, Karina Mambuca, Christine Pinder and Ashley Noble to graduation this spring.