Eagles Defeat Jacksonville 3-2 in Five-Set A-Sun Match
Friday, September 23, 2011
JU (7-9, 0-1 A-Sun)
Florida Gulf Coast (6-7, 1-0 A-Sun)
9/23/2011 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 622
Florida Gulf Coast2325202515
Stats at a GlanceJUFGCU
Hitting Pct..227.219
Total Attacks163183
Statistical LeadersJUFGCU
KillsJACOB - 16
HOLM - 19
AssistsCOURTNEY - 48
MEYER - 48
BlocksJACOB - 5

FORT MYERS, Fla. - For the second consecutive year, FGCU and Jacksonville needed five sets for their annual volleyball match. This time, the Eagles were on the winning end of things as they picked up a 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 15-12) win at Alico Arena in the 2011 Atlantic Sun season-opener on Friday. FGCU is now 4-1 in A-Sun season openers and avenge their 3-2 loss at JU from the 2010 season.

The Green and Blue (6-7 overall, 1-0 A-Sun) and the Dolphins (7-9, 0-1 A-Sun) each traded 25-23 wins in the first two sets. After JU took a 25-20 win in set three, the Eagles won the final two sets, 25-21 and 15-12, to secure the match.

“This match was really similar to our match with Rutgers last weekend,” FGCU head coach Dave Nichols said. “We couldn’t get in sync, but we were very mentally tough and found a way to pull out a big win over a good conference opponent.”

Sophomore Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall) blasted a match-high and career-high 19 kills, while senior Jelena Simic (Lazarevac, Serbia/Kolubara Technical/Seward County CC) finished with 17 kills and 16 digs to record her third double-double of the season. Freshmen Jill Hopper (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown HS) and Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River HS) chipped in with 13 kills each, while freshman setter Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS) notched her third career double-double with 48 assists and 16 digs. Senior libero Holly Youngquist (Estero, Fla./Evangelical Christian HS) finished with 28 digs and a pair of assists.

Kylie Jacob (16) and Alliya Drzewiecki (13) each finished with double-digit kills to lead Jacksonville. Kendall Courtney added 48 assists and 21 digs for JU.

In the first set, the Dolphins took a 10-6 lead on a kill by Jacob. JU later pushed the advantage to 17-12 off a kill by Drzewiecki. An 8-2 run by the Eagles capped by a Mesner kill gave FGCU a 20-19 advantage. With the set tied at 23-23, back-to-back attack errors from FGCU gave JU the 25-23 set win.

Trailing 10-7 early in the second set, the Eagles used a 13-4 spurt, capped by a Brooke Koehler (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter HS/Clemson) kill, to take a 20-14 lead. The Dolphins battled back with six consecutive points to tie the set at 20-20. A Drzewiecki kill tied the match at 23-23, but a pair of JU errors gave the Green and Blue the set (25-23).

In the third set, Jacksonville shot out to a quick 9-4 lead. The Dolphins would go on to take an 18-12 lead on a kill by Kylie Jacob and went on to win the set 25-20 to grab a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth set, the teams traded leads and had seven ties before FGCU broke free with a 20-18 advantage on a kill by Hopper. The game saw its eighth tie when the Dolphins evened the score at 20-20 on an attack error from Simic, but a Hopper ace and kill by Simic gave the Green and Blue a 25-21 win and forced a fifth set.

In the final frame, the Eagles jumped out to an early 7-3 lead after Mesner bombed a kill, which forced JU to call a timeout. The Dolphins used a 6-2 run to tie the set at 9-9, causing FGCU to burn their first timeout of the set. The Green and Blue responded by outscoring JU 6-3, thanks to three kills from Holm and a pair from Hopper, to win the deciding set 15-12 to earn their first A-Sun win of the 2011 season.

The Eagles finish the weekend tomorrow by hosting UNF (6-7, 1-0 A-Sun) at 7 p.m. at Alico Arena. Live stats for the match will be available on www.FGCUAthletics.com and the match can be seen live online on A-Sun.TV.