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Comeback Falls Short as @FGCU_VB Drops 3-2 Decision to ETSU
|Florida Gulf Coast||19||17||25||25||4|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||FGCU|
MAMBUCA - 1
JORDAN - 1
BARNES - 1
MASTERS - 1
FORT MYERS, Fla. – While trailing two sets to none, the FGCU women’s volleyball team mounted a comeback that pushed the match against ETSU to five sets. The Bucs defeated the Eagles in the final stanza to earn a 3-2 win at Alico Arena on Friday night. The Bucs captured wins in the first two sets (25-19, 25-17) before FGCU responded and outscored the visiting team in sets three and four (25-17, 25-17). ETSU sealed the five-set victory with a 15-4 win in the fifth set.
With the loss, the Eagles fall to 11-15 on the year with a 7-6 Atlantic Sun mark. The Bucs maintain a first-place standing with a record of 18-7 and a near-perfect 12-1 conference slate.
“We struggled tonight and it resulted in a tough loss,” stated head coach Dave Nichols. “ETSU is a great team and they really challenged us to the point that we could not execute an attack. We need to focus on USC Upstate and try to get back on track tomorrow.”
The Eagles’ offensive effort was led by 16 kills from Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High Schools), while Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) and Olivia Mesner (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River High School) also added double-digit attacks with 14 and 10 kills, respectively.
The Eagles saw 43 assists from setter Gigi Meyer (Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz High School) and were led defensively with 25 digs by libero Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School). Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) added 18 digs through the five-set event.
As a unit, the Green and Blue produced an attack percentage of just .128 through the match, but held ETSU to below its season average with a mark of .187. The Bucs outperformed the Eagles with more kills, more blocks and fewer errors.
The Eagles and Bucs began the match with an exchange of points before ETSU capitalized on a series of FGCU errors to take a 10-5 lead. After an Eagle timeout, the Bucs increased their lead to 14-8 on several kills and never relinquished the advantage. The visiting team maintained a six-point advantage through the set and used a kill and an Eagle error to take a 25-19 win in the opening set.
The teams traded rallies to start the second set and tied on points five and seven. The Eagles used kills from Mesner and Barnes to take a brief 14-11 lead but saw as the Bucs fought back to tie the bout at 15. A five-point run by ETSU enabled the Bucs to reclaim control of the set before FGCU attempted to stifle the run with a timeout. The Green and Blue scored the first point out of the timeout but were unable to cut the deficit and ultimately fell 25-17 to trail 2-0 in the match.
The Eagles entered the third set with the match on the line. The team powered through the opening points and tied the top-ranked Bucs on seven different occasions to even the set at the midway point. Two rallies of two-points each gave the Eagles a slight advantage at 17-13 and forced ETSU to call timeout. After the timeout, a service ace from Masters sparked the Green and Blue to produce a three-point rally and take a 22-14 lead. The Bucs called another timeout before the Eagles secured the lead and took the win, 25-17.
The home team took a 4-0 lead to open the fourth set and rallied to take a 10-5 lead on a Caroline Jordan (Orlando, Fla./William R. Boone High School) service ace. The Eagles maintained a five-point lead through the set and went ahead by a 10-point margin after a series of kills from Holm and Barnes. With a 21-11 lead, FGCU stopped the Buc attack enough to maintain control the set and take a 25-17 win to even the match at two sets each.
With the match available for the taking, ETSU claimed control of the final set from the opening serve. The Bucs took a quick 3-0 lead and forced FGCU to call timeout before extending the lead to 7-2. The Eagles’ attack struggled and was unable to produce a solid offensive effort. Six errors and a hitting percentage of -.190 for FGCU helped ETSU hold onto the advantage and ultimately take the win, 15-4.
The match ended with the Eagles’ third-consecutive loss for the team’s longest losing streak since Atlantic Sun action began. The Eagles maintain a fifth-place standing in the conference rankings with five games to play.
The Green and Blue will return to action on Saturday night when the team hosts USC Upstate in a 7 p.m. match.
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.