Volleyball Remains Undefeated in A-Sun Play with 3-2 Win at Mercer
Saturday, September 22, 2012 | by Mike Hill (@mike_hill84)
Photo Credit: Ron Irby
Photo Credit: Ron Irby
Florida Gulf Coast (6-7 (2-0 A-Sun))
Mercer (6-7 (2-1 A-Sun))
9/22/2012 | Macon, Ga. | Attendance: 343
Florida Gulf Coast2523252315
Stats at a GlanceFGCUMER
Hitting Pct..237.151
Total Attacks173199
Statistical LeadersFGCUMER
KillsPINDER - 17
LOCKE - 20
AssistsMEYER - 33
AcesHOPPER - 2
DigsPINDER - 33
BlocksMESNER - 7

MACON, Ga. – The Florida Gulf Coast University volleyball team picked up their second win of the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference regular season with a 3-2 (25-15, 23-25, 25-13, 23-25, 15-13) win over Mercer on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Arena. The win marks the second consecutive year and fifth time in program history that the Eagles have opened A-Sun play with a perfect 2-0 record.

“This was a great team win for us,” said head coach Dave Nichols. “We battled through adversity and never gave up. I’m proud of the girls for sticking together and pulling out a tough 5-set win over a good team in a very hostile environment. It’s feels good to be undefeated after the first weekend of conference play.”

Junior Christine Pinder (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS/Houston/Central Florida CC) led FGCU (6-7, 2-0 A-Sun) with her third double-double of the season (17 kills, 33 digs). Pinder’s 17 kills and 33 digs are both career-highs. Sophomore Jill Hopper (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown HS) picked up her third double-double of the season (11th of her career) with 14 kills and a career-high 23 digs.  Junior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall) and sophomore Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River HS) both chipped in with 10 kills, while the setting duo of sophomore Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS) and junior Courtney Greenberg (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Juniata College) each recorded double-doubles on the day. Meyer finished with 33 assists and 12 digs to record her third double-double of the season and Greenberg registered 20 assists and 14 digs to pick up her first double-double as an Eagle.

After the two teams battled to a 4-4 tie to open the match, the Eagles used a 14-7 run, highlighted by three kills from senior Brittany Muse (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto County HS), to take an 18-11 lead and force a Mercer (6-7, 2-1 A-Sun) timeout. After Molly Locke blasted a kill to cut the FGCU lead to 18-12, the Eagles scored five of the next eight points to grab a 23-15 advantage. Holm and Mesner teamed up for back-to-back block assists to give the Green and Blue the 25-15 win in the opening frame. The Eagles hit .294, while holding the Bears to a .073 hitting percentage.

Mercer shot out to an 11-2 lead to open the second set. After calling a timeout to stop the MU run, the Eagles scored seven of the next 12 points to cut the Bears advantage to 16-9. Trailing 20-11, the Green and Blue employed a 12-4 run, highlighted by four kills from Hopper, to put pressure on Mercer and cut the Bears lead to one point (24-23). MU got a kill from Molly Locke to take the set 25-23 and even the match at 1-1 heading into the 10 minute intermission.

FGCU dominated the beginning of the third set, using a 5-1 run to get things started. After the Bears clawed their way back into the game, the Eagles, who were leading the Bears 12-8, used a 13-5 spurt, capped by a scorching kill from Pinder, to take the third game, 25-13, and pull ahead 2-1 in the match.

The fourth set was a back-and-forth battle that saw 11 ties. After an attack error by the Eagles tied the game at 22-22, the Bears got a kill from Charlayna Braxton and another FGCU attack error to grab set point (24-22). Hopper picked up a kill to pull the Eagles closer at 24-23, but MU was able to hold off the Green and Blue attack and pick up the 25-23 win to even the match at 2-2.

In the deciding set, the teams fought to an 11-11 tie. Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS/Southeastern) and Pinder racked up kills to give FGCU a 13-11 lead. After a kill from Muse and a pair of Mercer kills gave the Green and Blue match-point at 14-13, MU committed a service error and FGCU grabbed a 15-13 win in the fifth set to win the match 3-2.

The Eagles will be back in action Tuesday night when they host A-Sun foe UNF (8-5, 0-2 A-Sun) in their 2012 home opener at 7 p.m.