Volleyball goes on 3-0 streak, takes down powerhouse UGA


The current three-match winning streak (as of Sept. 17) for the Mercer Bears Volleyball team is part of a 4-2 stretch since the last match of the Bear Brawl. The Bears have really turned it around after six straight tough losses to begin the season. Despite a two-match stretch of not winning a set (Samford and Georgia Tech matches), the Bears have pulled it together under the tutelage of Coach Noelle Rooke. The Bears are now 4-8 on the year as they approach conference play.

Georgia Tech Regency Suites Invitational
Mercer 0, Samford 3
The Bears opened their play at the Georgia Tech Regency Suites Invitational with a loss to Samford by the score of 25-10, 25-22, 25-18 on Sept. 9. The Bears were outhit and outperformed in digs by the Bulldogs. However, the Bears were able to outblock the Bulldogs 7.5 to 5.0. Jennifer Katona led the Bears with six kills, and she had her third straight match with a hitting percentage above .270 (.273). Amiee Frutchey and Emily Rochefort led the team with nine digs each, accounting for half of the team’s digs between the two of them. Charlayna Braxton had more than half the blocks for the Bears with 4.0. Madeline Dolny had nine assists to lead the team. Samford was able to stay undefeated on the year behind stellar play from their two juniors: Emily Neisler and Lauren Hutchinson.

Mercer 0, Georgia Tech 3
The Bears were unable to make a dent in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, despite going to tiebreakers in two of the three sets on Sept. 10. They lost 25-15, 26-24, 28-26. In this match, Charlotte Harris, the senior libero, passed 1,000 digs in her career with nine against the Yellow Jackets. When asked about what that career mark meant to her, Harris said, “Breaking 1,000 digs is a huge step for me in my career. I am very proud to have done so but I have many more goals I want to accomplish before the season is over.” In addition to Harris’ feat, Jennifer Katona was able to record 10 kills on just 19 swings. Tech was too strong, though, and they improved to 6-2 on the year.
Mercer 3, Georgia 2
The Mercer Bears won their second match of the season on the afternoon of Sept. 10 against the in-state rival Georgia Bulldogs 15-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21, 15-11. It was also the second time that Mercer has defeated an SEC program under Coach Rooke, and it was the first time that Mercer has ever defeated Georgia in school history. Amiee Frutchey and Jennifer Katona had 15 and 13 kills respectively, spearheading an attack that was the upset of the tournament. Anna Coursey and Jamie Duffy each added 10 kills to that as well. Madeline Dolny had 29 assists and 11 digs in his first-career double-double. Charlotte Harris added 15 more, bringing her career total to 1,023 through the Georgia game. She had this to say about what the Georgia game has done for the team in general: “As a team, we had a huge win on Saturday night over Georgia. I think the win will give us the confidence we need to accomplish our goals during conference play. Coming together as a team is our biggest hurdle. We are definitely beginning to do so and if we continue playing the way we are, we will be successful come conference time.” Her thoughts are echoed by her teammates and her coach.
Mercer 3, Georgia State 0
Mercer beat Georgia State for just the fifth time in 37 meetings with the Panthers, and it was the third time that Coach Noelle Rooke’s squad has beaten them in her time at Mercer. The Bears won 25-23, 25-20, 25-23, with the score showing how close the match really was. Anna Coursey led the way with 10 kills on Sept. 13. Jamie Duffy’s 23 digs led the Bears, but Charlotte Harris had 20, upping her career total to 1,043. Each set was not without drama, and Mercer’s leaders performed well with clutch points and capitalizing well on Georgia State mistakes.

Mercer 3, Florida A&M 1
On Sept. 17, the Mercer Bears dropped the first set but rallied to win the home match against the Florida A&M Rattlers 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-22. Mercer improved to 4-8 on the year with the thrilling come-from-behind victory. Charlotte Harris upped her career total of digs to 1,058 with 15 more, just as Jennifer Katona had 16 kills to lead the team. Anna Coursey added 10 more.

Mercer goes on the road to Troy on Tuesday, but they open conference play against Lipscomb at home on Sept. 23. The Bears look to knock off the defending champions.