Florida Gulf Coast
9/10/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 821
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|Stats at a Glance||USF||FGCU|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After beginning the 2013 season with six matches away from home, the FGCU volleyball team returns to The Nest for its home opener welcoming in-state rival USF to Alico Arena on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Eagles enter the matchup with a 1-5 overall record after collecting their first win of the season Sunday against Florida A&M, while the Bulls arrive to Alico sitting at 3-4 looking to snap a three-game losing streak.
After the second week of play, three FGCU players rank amongst the top 10 in the Atlantic Sun as individual category leaders. Junior Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) leads the A-Sun in service aces per set, totaling seven over a mere 14 sets for a .50 average. Barnes also ranks 10th overall for kills registering 42, as senior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall) stands at eighth with 60. Finishing out the FGCU leader board is junior Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS) ranking sixth for assists per set with a 9.74 average and a total of 185.
SCOUTING THE BULLS
The Bulls enter Tuesday’s contest after dropping all three of their matches (3-0, 3-0, 3-1) at the Bluejay Invitational in Omaha, Neb. last weekend. In the Bulls’ last match against Northern Colorado, defensive team leaders Erin Fairs and Natalia Sores registered career highs. Fairs notched a career-best 25 digs as she cruised to her sixth double-double of the season, adding a team-high 16 kills. Soares posted her second double-double of the year, digging a career-high 19 balls and contributing 27 assists in the loss.
The Bulls and Eagles have met five times prior to Tuesday night’s match, with the Eagles leading the series 3-2. In their last meeting, the Green and Blue fell 3-1 (14-25, 21-25, 25-17, 16-25) to the Bulls in Tampa, after sweeping them (25-22, 25-23, 25-19) and (28-26, 25-16, 25-18) in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
In last season’s matchup, Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS/Southeastern) led the Eagles with a team-high eight kills to go with five digs. Jill Hopper (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown HS) registered seven kills and a team-high 13 digs, while Holm finished with seven kills, three digs and a block. The setting duo of Meyer and Courtney Greenberg (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Juniata College) finished with a combined 32 assists and 14 digs.
FGCU continues home play throughout the weekend as the Eagles host the 2013 Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Airport Classic Sept. 13-14. The Eagles face Central Arkansas Friday at 10 a.m. and Marquette at 7 p.m. before hosting No. 1 Penn State Saturday at 7 p.m. in the “Big Ten Faceoff.”