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@FGCU_VB to Take on USC Upstate and ETSU in Two-Game Road Swing
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The FGCU women’s volleyball team will hit the road to take on Atlantic Sun foes USC Upstate and ETSU this weekend. The Eagles’ match against USC Upstate is slated for Friday at 7 p.m. at the Hodge Center in Spartanburg, S.C. The match can be viewed live on ESPN3. The team will take on ETSU Saturday afternoon in Johnson City, Tenn. with a 3 p.m. first set at Brooks Gym.
The Green and Blue enter the weekend with a record of 7-10 including a 4-1 mark in Atlantic Sun action. The team is currently riding a six-game win streak that includes four conference wins and nonconference ‘W’s over Bethune-Cookman and FAU.
Junior outside hitter Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) tops the Eagle offense with 3.42 kills per set and ranks sixth among A-Sun attackers. Barnes’ offensive effort is aided by 2.96 kills per set from Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) and 2.68 by Christine Pinder (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School).
Holm has also added 32 blocks for the Eagles and has been a strong force in the Eagles’ recent success, while Pinder is one of the team’s dig leaders at 3.20 digs per set. Pinder has recorded five double-doubles on the season by maximizing on her offensive and defensive efforts.
Setter Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS) has supported the Eagles’ attack this year with 10.39 assists per set to rank fourth in the A-Sun.
Defensively, Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) paces the squad with a team-high 225 digs on the season, while Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) leads all players with 48 blocks through 17 games.
LAST TIME OUT
In their last outing, the Eagles edged the Owls of FAU with a 3-2 victory in nonconference action. After falling 26-24 in set one, the Eagles responded with a 25-14 win in set two to even the match. The Owls took set three 25-19 before the Green and Blue tied the match with a 25-19 win in set four. The Eagles rallied for a 15-10 win the final stanza to earn the thrilling win. The five-set victory marked the first time the Eagles have gone a full five sets this season.
Offensively, the Eagles were led by a stellar night from outside hitter Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School). Mesner recorded 25 kills through five sets to more than double her previous season high. The junior also logged a season-high attack percentage at .568. The Green and Blue saw three others in double figures for kills as Barnes added 19, Holm recorded 13 and Pinder had 10. Meyer aided the offense with a season-high 63 assists on the night.
On defense, the Eagles saw five different players with double-digit digs. Masters led the charge with 26 digs, while Mambuca added 19. Pinder recorded her fifth double-double of the season at 18 digs with Barnes tallying her third double-double of the year at 13 digs. Meyer also added 10 in the victory.
SCOUTING USC UPSTATE
The Spartans enter this weekend’s matchup with a dismal 1-13 record and a 1-4 mark in Atlantic Sun action. USC Upstate’s lone win of the year is a four-set victory over Mercer on Sept. 21. The team has dropped four matches since.
USC Upstate is led by sophomore Kayla Eversgerd, who averages 2.98 kills and 3.08 digs per set. Eversgerd gets help from 2.38 kills per set by Emily Koelling and Lexi Gober’s 8.81 assists per set.
Defensively, Morgan Page leads the team with 3.29 digs per set, while Koelling has added 28 blocks through 14 matches.
As a unit the Spartans are hitting just .123 on the year, while allowing opponents to record an attack percentage of .240.
FGCU is a perfect 9-0 against USC Upstate dating back to the 2007 season. The Eagles have taken 27 sets from the Spartans and have dropped just two sets in the six-year history. Last season, Holm and Mesner combined for 42 kills to help the Eagles earn two 3-0 wins over USC Upstate.
ETSU currently stands alone atop the Atlantic Sun standings with an undefeated 5-0 record in conference action and an overall record of 11-6. The strong record includes a seven-game win streak which has seen five conference wins and victories over Austin Peay and Tennessee. The Bucs rank near the top in all statistical categories and have several league-leading players on the roster.
Individually, the Bucs are led by senior Megan Devine. Devine ranks second among A-Sun players with 4.61 kills per set and adds 3.02 digs per stanza. Junior Ivey Rice adds 2.85 kills for the Bucs, while Jamie Rutledge is second in the conference with 10.85 assists per set.
The Eagles and Bucs have faced off nine times since 2007, with the Green and Blue holding a 7-2 advantage in the win-loss record. Last season, the Eagles earned a 3-0 victory at Alico Arena with help from 10 kills by Pinder but fell, 3-2, in Johnson City in November.
ON THE HORIZON
Following the weekend, the Eagles will conclude nonconference action with an away bout at FIU. The Green and Blue will face the in-state opponent on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.
2013-14 volleyball season tickets are available by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets. Season tickets are $35 for adults and $17 for youth (ages 3-12). Single-game tickets can also be purchased for $6 per adult and $3 for youth. Groups of 10+ can receive a discounted rate of $3 per person. FGCU students and faculty/staff are admitted for free with a valid University ID.