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FGCU volleyball hosting the Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Classic

The Florida Gulf Coast University volleyball team will host the Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Classic at Alico Arena this weekend. The Eagles start the tournament at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19 against Alabama State University.

The tournament will conclude Saturday, Sept. 20 with a double-header starting off with a matchup against the University of Missouri-Kansas City at 12:30 p.m., and finishing off the tournament against the Florida Atlantic Owls at 7:30 p.m. The matchup against the Owls will be a “greenout” so fans in attendance are encouraged to wear green apparel.

The FGCU Eagles finished 2-1 at the Hilton Maverick Invitational bringing their overall record to 4-5.

The Eagles’ first victory of the tournament came against the Houston Baptist Huskies by a score of 25-17, 25-22 and 25-20. Jessica Barnes led the attack with 15 kills while Vanessa Benke and Eleonara Kazarian contributed with 14 and 10, respectively.

Gigi Meyer also aided the Eagles’ attack with 47 assists, according to the FGCU Athletics website, while a balanced defensive effort led to an Eagles’ victory.

In the next matchup, the Eagles fell to the host UT Arlington Mavericks by a score of 25-18, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-23.

Olivia Mesner led the FGCU attack with 16 kills, and head coach Matt Botsford praised her performance.

“Olivia was very good for us offensively and our ball handling was good overall throughout the day,” Botsford told FGCU Athletics. “UTA had a few too many offensive weapons and ultimately we couldn’t get the key stops we needed to extend the match to a fifth set.”

In the final matchup of the tournament, the Eagles’ redeemed themselves with a 3-0 sweep over the Texas Southern Tigers (27-25, 25-18, 25-17).

The Eagles’ offense was led by Benke and Kazarian, who finished with 13 and 12 kills each.

Botsford told FGCU Athletics that he was happy with the Eagles’ overall performance.

“I was pleased with our attack in the third set and our passing game continues to get better” he said. “We’re looking forward to continuing the season and we can’t wait to play at home next weekend.”

At the conclusion of the tournament, Mesner and Whitney Masters were named to the 2014 Hilton Maverick Invitational All-Tournament Team.

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