In their final home conference match of the year, the Mercer Bears volleyball squad missed a chance to grab an advantage and control its own destiny for the postseason with a tough loss to cap off an up-and-down two weeks for Mercer volleyball. The Bears are 10-17 overall and 3-7 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. With four games remaining, they must win out. At the beginning of the season, Coach Noelle Rooke said that it was all about “peaking at the right time.” The Bears need that now to clinch a postseason spot.
Mercer 3, Chattanooga 1
The Bears continued their break from Atlantic Sun play with a match at home against Chattanooga. The 3-1 win saw a total of 25 kills come from the right side duo of Anna Coursey and Caroline Carlton. The Bears won 25-19, 25-16, 20-25, 25-22. Another great performance all around from the team is what sent the Bears back in the right direction after the rough close loss versus the Rattlers. Charlotte Harris added 24 digs to her tally, and Monica Sanchez had 30 huge assists. For the 10th time this season, Jennifer Katona had at least 10 kills.
ETSU 3, Mercer 1
Despite bringing a two-game winning streak into Johnson City, Tenn., the Bears were unable to get past ETSU, falling 3-1. ETSU dropped the first set, but rallied to take three straight 18-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-15. Mercer could not get past the Lady Bucs. Harris had 20 digs, and Madeline Dolny added a double-double with 21 assists and 12 digs. Carlton added nine kills with a decent hitting percentage.
Mercer 3, USC-Upstate 1
The Mercer Bears finished the conference road trip by getting back on the right foot with a solid win against USC Upstate. The Spartans were not able to finish the match off after a strong start, with the Bears winning 23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-18. Amiee Frutchey had 20 kills in the match, with Jamie Duffy and Jennifer Katona each adding 12. Charlotte Harris might have led the Bears with 23 digs, but Frutchey contributed 22. The Bears needed to rebound after the Bucs loss, and this was a great result.
Mercer 3, North Florida 0
The Bears began their final Atlantic Sun homestand of the season with a 3-0 drubbing of North Florida in the University Center. The Bears sent the Ospreys home without a win in any set at 25-18, 25-19, 25-20. North Florida was held to either zero or negative attacking efficiency the whole night, and the Bears picked them apart as a result. Harris had 14 digs, Dolny had 19 assists, Frutchey had nine kills, and Duffy had 10 digs, showing that the Bears had slightly lower numbers than their win over the Spartans a week prior, but they won more as a team than any individual effort.
Jacksonville 3, Mercer 0
Mercer lost their final Atlantic Sun game at home this year with a 3-0 decision against the Jacksonville Dolphins. The Dolphins manhandled the Bears, winning 25-20, 25-18, 25-21. Charlotte Harris got to 393 digs on the year, 1,280 in her career, with a 16-dig performance that was one of the bright spots on the afternoon. Jennifer Katona also had 12 kills. Coach Rooke lamented that “the same team couldn’t show up two days in a row.” Madeline Dolny also had 31 assists. This game celebrated the senior trio of Anna Coursey, Charlotte Harris, and Amiee Frutchey for their Mercer careers.
The Bears are next in action on the road at Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 4, followed by a trip to Stetson the next day. Their last game at home is on Nov. 9 against Savannah State, and three days later, the Bears play Kennesaw State before a potential trip to the Atlantic Sun Championship in Nashville at Lipscomb University.