Eagles win five-set thriller against FAU

After a shaky start to the 2013 season, the FGCU volleyball team is riding a six-game win streak

The Florida Gulf Coast University volleyball team brought home their sixth win in a row beating the Florida Atlantic University Owls 3-2, in the Tuesday night non-conference game.
The Green and Blue couldn’t catch a break in this fi rst set as the score bounced up one point to another on both sides. The Eagles led 24-23 in the fi rst set, but couldn’t stop the Owls comeback as they won the fi rst set 26-24.
FGCU dominated the second set with numerous rallies after jumping to an early 8-4 score, to win 25-14.
The third set was met again with another Owls comeback as FAU took control after being tied at 12. The Owls took the third set 25-19.
The fourth set brought a lot of battling on the top of the tape, as well as a few “cheap shots” as one FGCU fan screamed after a FAU player dumped the ball on FGCU territory with a 18-11 victory. The Owls continued to push the ball into open spaces on the court, but the Eagles pulled through to win the fourth set, 25-19.
The Eagles took the fi rst three points of the fi fth set before the Owls responded and put points on the board. FGCU scored fi ve of the next seven points to go ahead 9-6 and win the fi nal set by fi ve points, 15-10.
Olivia Mesner went home with a new personal record of 25 kills, which was twice as high as the amount of kills she had last season.
“I think it (this game) really showed our maturity,” Holm said. “We are a better team because we just came out and even though we did bad in two of the sets, we pulled through and won.”
This was more than a game, it was family.
Florida Atlantic University head coach Fernanda Nelson and assistant coach Charlie Castillo both previously coached for FGCU team alongside head coach Dave Nichols.
“Well it’s hard to play good friends; Fay and Charlie are more than friends,” Nichols said. “They are family to me so it’s one of those (things) where it is no joy in beating them but I’m really proud of how the girls played.”
Senior Kaitlin Holm also felt a close connection with the FAU coaches as well.
“Fay, coached me when I was in high school and Charlie too. I’ve known them for a long time,” Holm said. “They know how I play so mostly I was worried about them scouting me, telling them where I am going to hit, but it’s like family with them. It’s nice to beat them just to have bragging rights, but I mean I wouldn’t want to lose to anyone else.”
Setter Gigi Meyer had nothing but positive things about the opposing coach.
“It was defi nitely a friendly game, we love Fay and we are so happy for her,” Meyer said. “What she has done with that team is amazing, they are a great team. I am so happy for her but like I said its friendly competition. She is family.”
For two of the players in last night’s game, it went a little further than just knowing the coaches on the other side. Freshman Caroline Jordan has played against FAU player Alexandra Harvard in competitive club play through her childhood. The two also played on the same team in high school at William R Boone, in Orlando.
“It’s a little bit weird,” Jordan said. “At the same time, it is fun because we played on different club teams for a long time so I’m used to playing against her. It’s a little rivalry, but in a friendly way,”
The Eagles hit the road for three games this week against USC Upstate, ETSU and FIU, respectively, before playing again at home at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 18th against Lipscomb, a conference rival.
“Our fan base has been great this year compared to last year, like last year we were undefeated in conference at this point so it’s nice having big crowds,” Holm said. “We play a much better game with big crowds like this.”