FORT MYERS, Fla., - FGCU won the first five-set match in Alico Arena as Ana Kokanovic set a school record for kills in a game with 37. FGCU handed Mercer a 3-2 loss (23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 26-28, 15-10) to improve to 17-6 overall and 15-1 in the Atlantic Sun while Mercer falls to 16-8 and 11-5.
“We had a hard time getting things going today, and I give Mercer all of the credit in that,” said Head Coach Dave Nichols. “It was a frustrating day for us but we were able to pull out the win. I thought we should have ended it in four games, but give Mercer all the credit for stopping us there.”
The Eagles dropped the first set 25-23. Mercer was able to pick up an early 7-3 lead, the largest in the first set for either team. The Eagles never led in the set but managed to tie it on seven occasions, with the last coming at 20 all. A 3-0 Mercer run gave the Bears a 23-20 lead and Mercer hung on for a 25-23 win.
The Eagles raced to an 8-2 lead and went on a 4-0 run followed by a 3-0 run to take a 17-10 lead. The Bears were able to hold off four set points before an Ana Kokanovic kill ended the set at 25-21.
In the third set, FGCU again got off to a big lead at 7-1. The Bears then went on a 4-0 run, but FGCU answered with a 4-0 run of their own to take a 11-5 lead. Neither team would score more than two in a row until FGCU held a 21-14 lead. Mercer went on a 3-0 run to cut the lead to 21-17. The Eagles scored four of the next six points to win 25-19.
The Eagles were able to get to a 23-16 lead and appeared to be poised to wrap up the match. Four straight points by the Bears trimmed the lead to 23-20. Kokanovic put away a kill to give the Eagles four match points. The Bears responded with five of their own to take a 25-24 lead. The Bears would complete the 28-26 comeback win, forcing the first fifth set in Alico Arena.
With the fifth set tied at six, the Eagles scored consecutive points to take an 8-6 lead. After a sideout, two more FGCU points gave the Eagles a 10-7 lead. The Eagles outscored Mercer 5-3 down the stretch to take the fifth set 15-10.
Libby Hansch picked up 12 kills for the Bears and hit .435. Amiee Frutchey added 10 kills for Mercer.
Ana Kokanovic hit .306 with a school record 37 kills and she added 20 digs for the Eagles. Roberta Santos recorded her third triple double in the last five matches with 11 kills, 50 assists and 11 digs. Catilin Shawver added 11 kills for the Eagles.
FGCU will be back in action again on Tuesday when they travel to DeLand, Fla., to face Stetson.