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Volleyball Splits Day Two of Penn State Classic
|Florida Gulf Coast||25||25||22||25||--|
|Stats at a Glance||LIU||FGCU|
SIMIC - 3
|Florida Gulf Coast||25||11||17||11||--|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||PSU|
DOMINGUEZ - 1
YOUNGQUIST - 1
HOPPER - 4
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Florida Gulf Coast University volleyball split their final two matches of the Penn State Classic with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16) win over Long Island and a 3-1 (25-20, 11-25, 17-25, 11-25) loss to No. 5 Penn State on Saturday night.
The Eagles finished the Penn State Classic with a 2-1 record and are now 5-7 overall on the season.
The Green and Blue (5-7 overall) shocked the Nittany Lions in game one by shooting out to a quick 17-7 lead, capped by a kill by Olivia Mesner’s (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River HS), that forced PSU to burn a timeout. The four-time defending national champions responded with a 9-4 run to cut the FGCU lead down to 21-16. The young Eagles would not waver though as they held of the No. 5 ranked team and picked up a 25-20 win in set one. FGCU hit .323 as a team, while limited Penn State to an uncharacteristically low hitting percentage of .138.
The No. 5 Nittany Lions (7-3) used the game one loss to fuel themselves to wins in games two (25-11), three (25-17) and four (25-11) and win the match 3-1. Penn State used quick starts in games two-four to lead themselves to victory as they held FGCU to hitting percentages between .035 and -.004 for the remainder of the match.
Jill Hopper (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown HS) led the Eagles with a team-high 12 kills and also added four block assists. Mesner chipped in with seven kills and three block assists, Camil Dominguez (Santo Domingo, D.R./Santa Teresita) and Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS) ran the FGCU offense and finished with 15 and 11 assists, respectively. Holly Youngquist (Estero, Fla./Evangelical Christian registered a team-high 24 digs.
After taking care of the Blackbirds in the first two sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-16, respectively, the Eagles struggled with Long Island in third frame. The Blackbirds shot out to an early 9-4 lead only to see the Green and Blue storm back and tie the set at 10-10, thanks to great defense and a pair of kills from Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall). Play stayed close until an Eagle service error gave LIU a 21-18 advantage. An attack error extended the Blackbirds' lead to four points but the Eagles came back to trim their deficit to two points. With the score at 24-22, LIU’s Hanna Gibeau picked up a kill to give Long Island the set with a three-point win.
The Eagles bounced back an took care of business in the fourth set as they jumped out to a 10-4 lead, capped by a Hopper kill, and never looked back. The 25-16 fourth-set win sealed the 3-1 victory for the Green and Blue.
Long Island was held to a .190 hitting percentage compared to FGCU’s .250 mark. The Eagles were paced by Mesner’s 14 kills, a double-double (33 assists, 13 digs) from Meyer and a match-high 16 digs from Youngquist.
The Eagles will be back in action this weekend (Sept. 23-24) when they open Atlantic Sun play by hosting Jacksonville on Friday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. and UNF on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.
MVP – Katie Slay
Jill Hopper - FGCU
Kaitlin Holm - FGCU