@FGCU_VB Drops Five-Set Battle at North Florida
Monday, October 28, 2013 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Olivia Mesner led the Eagle attack with 25 kills and no errors on the night. (Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson)
Olivia Mesner led the Eagle attack with 25 kills and no errors on the night. (Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson)
Florida Gulf Coast (11-14, 7-5 A-Sun)
UNF (8-16, 4-8 A-Sun)
10/28/2013 | Jacksonville, Fla. | Attendance: 272
Florida Gulf Coast2125252115
Stats at a GlanceFGCUUNF
Hitting Pct..219.286
Total Attacks187182
Statistical LeadersFGCUUNF
KillsMESNER - 25
AssistsMEYER - 58
FESL - 43
AcesJORDAN - 2
DigsMAMBUCA - 22
BlocksMESNER - 6

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU women’s volleyball team fell in a close five-set match at the University of North Florida’s UNF Arena on Monday evening.  The home team earned a win in set one (25-21) before the Eagles responded to take set two (25-22).  FGCU earned a win set three (25-21) but allowed the Ospreys to even the match with a ‘W’ in set four (25-21) and saw as the match was ultimately decided by just a few points in the fifth set.  UNF earned a 17-15 win in the final stanza to take the match, 3-2.  With the loss, the Eagles fall to 11-14 overall and 7-5 in Atlantic Sun play, while the Ospreys improve to 8-16 on the year and 4-8 in conference action.

“It was another hard-fought match for us tonight,” explained head coach Dave Nichols.  “We keep finding ourselves in these long matches and I think that our injuries and lack of depth are starting to wear on us a little bit.  Olivia [Mesner] had an amazing performance with no errors and we had some great individual games, but unfortunately we gave up too many free points.  We battled and our effort was terrific but we played too sloppy at times and it caught up to us.  It was a heart-breaking loss for us tonight but the girls fought to the bitter end and I’m proud of them for that. ”

Overall, the Eagles saw four players with double-digit kills on the night.  Junior Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) tied her career high and paced the FGCU attack with 25 kills at UNF, while also recording zero errors and a season-high attack percentage of .658.  Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) added 15 attacks for the team, while senior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High Schools) and rookie Marlene Moeller (Lundinghausen, Germany/Pascal Gymnasium) dropped 12 and 10 kills for the Eagles, respectively, to add to the team’s total of 71.  The offensive effort resulted in the second-highest kill total the Eagles have produced this season.

Defensively, Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) had a career-high 22 digs in the match to lead the Green and Blue.  Freshman Caroline Jordan (Orlando, Fla./William R. Boone High School) also produced a career-high with 19 digs through five sets, while Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) added 12 digs in an effort to stop the Osprey attack.

As a unit, the Eagles maintained a .219 attack percentage, while allowing UNF to hit .286 through five sets.  FGCU produced 30 errors on the night and sided out in 57 percent of its chances.

The Eagles and Ospreys began the match by exchanging points and tying the set at four, five at six points.  The Eagles took a quick 12-10 advantage on a kill from Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) but could not maintain the lead and again tied the home team at 12 and 15 points.  The Ospreys went ahead 18-15 with a series of FGCU errors and forced FGCU to call timeout late in the set.  The home team maintained the slight lead and used two kills and an Eagle error to seal set one, 25-21.

The Ospreys carried the momentum into the second set and took a 5-3 lead early on.  After an FGCU timeout, UNF increased its advantage to 13-5 and maintained the lead at 17-9.  A kill from Barnes cut the deficit to seven points and swung the momentum in FGCU’s favor.  The Eagles chipped away at the lead and capped off a run with four-consecutive kills to tie the set at 21 points.  UNF called timeout to cool the Eagle offense but another kill by Mesner and one final attack from Jordan gave the Green and Blue a 25-22 advantage to even the match at one.

The teams traded several points to begin the third set before the Eagles took a 10-5 lead on strong play from Barnes and multiple UNF errors.  The Green and Blue extended its advantage to 17-10 and held onto the lead through the remainder of the set.  The Ospreys challenged FGCU late in the stanza and cut the score to 21-20 but could not claim the lead.  A kill by Meyer and a UNF error finished the set in favor of FGCU.  The 25-21 lead enabled the Eagles to go ahead 2-1 in the match.

The Eagles saw as UNF constructed a 5-3 lead to open set four.  With the match on the line for the Ospreys, the home team allowed the Eagles to tie the set at 11 but went ahead 16-12 with a pair of quick kills and increased the lead to 20-15 with strong offensive play.  A pair of kills by Barnes helped the Eagles cut the deficit to just two points, but the Ospreys used a kill and a FGCU error to seal set four at 25-21 in their favor. 

With an important Atlantic Sun victory on the line, the Eagles and Ospreys fought for each point in the final set.  The home team took a quick 4-2 lead but the Green and Blue responded with kills from Holm and Mesner to tie the set at five.  The teams exchanged points to tie the set again at seven, eight, 10 and 11 points before a UNF service ace sparked FGCU to call a timeout.

The Eagles scored the first point following the timeout with a kill from Holm and took a 13-12 lead on a UNF error.  The teams traded kills to tie the set at 13 and 14 points but a kill from the Ospreys challenged FGCU to call another timeout while trailing 15-14.  Holm again recorded a kill immediately following the timeout, but an Eagle error and a kill from the Ospreys gave the home team a 17-15 lead to take the set and the match. 

The match marks the first time the Eagles have lost in a full five-set match this season.

The Green and Blue will return to action at Alico Arena this weekend for a pair of home games.  The Eagles will host ETSU on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.  before welcoming USC Upstate to Fort Myers on Saturday at 7 p.m. 

2013-14 volleyball 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.